Food allergies provoke an immune system response that can produce symptoms ranging from mild to life-threatening. Children can develop food allergies at any age and, in some cases, they can outgrow them too.
The only treatment for food allergies is to avoid the foods that disturb the immune system and create reactions. Dr 2 Kids, Smita Tandon, MD can help you establish your child’s problem foods while staying alert for complications. Certain vitamin or mineral deficiencies could occur when you remove some foods from your child’s diet. Here’s what you need to know about pediatric food allergies.
Your child might be allergic or intolerant of some foods. These aren’t the same thing, though sometimes they may be used that way. An allergy involves an immune system response while an intolerance doesn’t. Some symptoms may be similar, but intolerances can’t produce dangerous reactions, though they can cause discomfort.
Food allergies affect about 6-8% of children, compared with half that rate for adults. Food intolerance is far more common. Its symptoms tend to affect the gastrointestinal system only.
About 90% of food allergies develop from just eight foods. The most likely allergy culprits are:
Eggs, dairy, and peanuts are the most common food allergens. Fish, shellfish, peanuts, and tree nuts potentially cause the most serious reactions, and they also cause the allergic responses your child is least likely to outgrow. Egg, dairy, wheat, and soy are the allergies that are most commonly outgrown.
Food allergy symptoms tend to start quickly, shortly after a food allergen is eaten. Food intolerances tend to come on more slowly. Allergy symptoms include:
Anaphylaxis is a serious allergic response that can produce life-threatening symptoms. Swelling of the face, lips, and tongue may be present along with breathing issues as tissue in the throat swells. Your child might be dizzy or light headed. They may break out in hives or lose consciousness. This is a medical emergency requiring immediate attention. Call 911 if your child suffers from several anaphylaxis symptoms simultaneously.
As many as 80% of those with dairy or egg allergies will outgrow their sensitivity by the time they reach the age of 18. If your child has no reaction to baked products including milk and/or eggs, they’re likely to outgrow these allergies.
Children with peanut allergies have only a 20% chance of outgrowing the allergy, while those allergic to tree nuts have about a 14% chance. Fish and shellfish allergies are the least likely to be outgrown, with only 4-5% of children getting past these.
Call or click to make an appointment with Dr. Tandon to investigate your child’s allergies or intolerances. We can help you with the adjustments and education you need to guide your child through these dietary restrictions. Book your session today.