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Detecting Food Allergies at an Early Age

Food allergies can be a very serious problem for a child. Allergies can range from obvious allergies that result in an immediate strong reaction, to ones that are more difficult to detect. With food allergies in children becoming a more common problem, it is important to learn about how to detect allergies in your children and the best ways to deal with them.

Who Is At Risk?

If food allergies are common in your family, you should be very careful about introducing foods to your baby or young child; especially foods that you or your spouse are allergic to. Also, there are the foods that are known to commonly cause allergic reactions in children such as nuts, eggs, milk, soy, wheat a shellfish. 

Figuring Out The Allergy

Sometimes detecting a food allergy in a child is very simple and straightforward. The child might eat a certain food, and have a reaction to that food which is immediate and obvious. In this case detective work isn’t necessary and you can move straight to what you can do to keep your child safe from this allergy.  Other times food allergies can be much more complicated. Eggs, for example, can be very difficult to diagnose because eggs are used in so many recipes that combine many ingredients. In cases like this, the best way to determine what food or foods are causing the problem is to work with your child’s doctor. A severe allergic reaction to a food you introduce can be very dangerous and possibly life threatening.  Your child’s doctor might suggest an elimination diet which starts with a very basic diet and then isolates foods that might be causing the allergic reaction, and introducing them one at a time into your child. If this is unsuccessful or if severe allergies run in your family, your child’s doctor might suggest in office allergy testing as a better and safer alternative.

Two methods of allergy testing include blood tests and skin tests. There are advantages and disadvantages to each type of test. Skin testing gives fast results but can be difficult to perform on children. Blood tests take longer to get the results, but they can be easier to do on children because all it takes is one needle to get the blood needed for the test.

Preventing Allergic Reactions

Once you are clear on what your child is allergic to, the next step is to help prevent your child from having a reaction as much as possible. If your child attends daycare or school, it is crucial that all of the teachers and care providers are aware of your child’s allergy.

You will need to be especially careful about what your child eats at play dates, parties and any other place they might unknowingly be exposed to a food they are allergic to. If your child has severe allergies, you will want to make sure they have an epinephrine pen (epi pen) with them at all times because this medication could save your child’s life.  Food allergies can be difficult to deal with. It can sometimes be hard to determine what your child is allergic to, and preventing exposure to problem foods can be quite a job. However, taking the appropriate steps to determine exactly what your child is allergic to and then being diligent in avoiding these foods will keep your child safe and feeling great.


[author]  [author_info]About the Author

Sally Caruthers, a nutrional consultant and content contributor to achooallergy.com suggests those with allergies use air purifiers and dust-free vacuum cleaners – such as those made by Miele, which come with self-sealing dust bags.

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This post was written by a guest writer for Prime Parents Club. We are not currently taking new guest writers.