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Signs of food allergies in kids

Michelle Maffei is a freelance copywriter covering a variety of topics both online and in print, from parenting to beauty and more. Combining her two favorite loves, writing and motherhood, she has found joy in even the most challenging ...

Spot an allergic reaction

With up to 6 percent of children under age 3 reported to have food allergies, it's important to know how to spot an allergic reaction on the fly. From itchy red bumps to shortness of breath, discover these signs of food allergies in kids along with tips from Loyola pediatric allergist Joyce Rabbat, MD.
Peanut allergy
How to spot an allergic reaction

symptoms you should know

With up to 6 percent of children under age 3 reported to have food allergies, it's important to know how to spot an allergic reaction on the fly.

From itchy red bumps to shortness of breath, discover these signs of food allergies in kids along with tips from Loyola pediatric allergist Joyce Rabbat, MD.

What are allergies?

While many kids reach adulthood without any allergies to speak of, some kids' bodies react to certain foods, plants, animals, minerals or bugs. When a child comes in contact with a substance that his or her body has deemed harmful, the body's immune system creates antibodies to fight the allergen with a chemical called histamines to protect itself. These chemicals symptoms commonly show up in the form of a runny nose, itchy skin rash, swelling, tingling in the tongue, lips or throat or abdominal pain. But, for some kids, the body's reaction can be more life-threatening.

Do kids with food allergies inconvenience normal kids? >> 

Signs of food allergies

Girl with food allergy

These days, food allergies in kids seem to be a common occurrence, however, keeping youngsters from having an allergic reaction takes more than just steering clear of feeding your kids certain foods. "So often it can be difficult to decipher what contains allergens and what does not," warns Loyola pediatric allergist Joyce Rabbat, MD. "Food allergies are especially dangerous because even small exposure to a food allergen can be devastating."

However, acting quickly when your kiddo is having any of these signs of food allergies can mean all the difference. Dr. Rabbat suggests you seek medical attention if you notice a child has any of these symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Swelling
  • Throat swelling/closing
  • Coughing
  • Dizziness
  • Change of color (pale or blue)
  • Vomiting or diarrhea

Minimizing the odds of an allergic reaction

Although sticking your youngster in a bubble to avoid foods that trigger allergies in your child would ensure a world free of allergic reactions, there are more practical ways to minimize the odds your child will be exposed to the foods on his or her allergy list.

Dr. Rabbat suggests that you reduce the likelihood of cross-contamination by preparing non-allergy-containing foods first, have everyone who comes in contact with the allergen wash hands thoroughly and serve food in an allergy-free area. "When serving the meal try to have an allergy-free area to reduce the risk of accidental exposure," recommends Rabbat. "If food with an allergen is spilled on the table and the child touches it and/or ingests it, the child could have a serious reaction."

Why are food allergies among children on the rise? >> 

You can avoid the most common food allergens for kids such as milk, eggs, peanuts and wheat, but the only way to know what your child is really allergic to is to visit an allergist for a blood or skin test. And, while most kids outgrow their food allergies by the time they're 5 years old according to kidshealth.org, knowing how to spot the above-mentioned eight signs of food allergies in kids can help you know when to spring into action when an allergic reaction rears its ugly head — before it's too late.

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