Food Allergies

Topics: Allergy, Asthma, Immune system / Pages: 5 (1162 words) / Published: Jul 12th, 2013
Food allergies

Approved by the BabyCentre Medical Advisory Board

What is a food allergy?
Food allergies happen when our immune systems produce antibodies in reaction to a protein in food that is normally considered harmless. Food allergies are more common in people who come from families with a history of allergies, such as asthma, hayfever, or eczema.
If your child has a food allergy, he will probably have an itchy or runny nose, a sore throat, itchy, watery eyes, rashes (hives) and swelling, which usually come on fairly quickly after eating the food. Food allergies are common in young children. It is estimated that between six per cent and eight per cent of children have a food allergy (Venter et al 2008).
What is my child most likely to be allergic to?
The most common food allergies in young children are to milk, eggs, peanuts and tree nuts. * Milk: Although this is not to be confused with milk intolerance. * Eggs: About two per cent of children under three are allergic to eggs. * Nuts: Just under two per cent of children are allergic to peanuts. Nut allergies in general are on the increase (Hourihane et al 2007).
What symptoms should I look out for?
It should be quite easy for you to tell if your child has an allergy. The symptoms include: * Hives (nettle rash) around your child's mouth, nose and eyes, which can spread across his body. * Mild swelling of his lips, eyes and face. * A runny or blocked nose, sneezing, watery eyes. * An itchy mouth and irritated throat. * Nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.
More severe reactions, involving wheezing, breathing difficulties or a drop in blood pressure may be life-threatening and are known as anaphylaxis. Fortunately, severe reactions are rare in young children. If you suspect a child is having a severe allergic reaction, call an ambulance immediately.

When your child reacts quickly to an allergen, it's usually easy to spot. However, delayed allergic reactions to

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