With allergies more prevalent, parents are seeking answers to their questions on the subject. 15 million Americans suffer from food allergies – a large portion are children — 5% of those under the age of 5 have some type of allergy to food.
Red alert foods
Eight red alert foods cause 90 percent of all food allergies; including milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish. Cross contamination during preparation, even in the smallest amounts, can cause allergic and potentially dangerous reactions, sometimes as severe as anaphylaxis – constriction of the airway. More common symptoms include hives, diarrhea, abdominal cramping, mouth and throat discomfort, dizziness and difficulty breathing.
Consult medical experts if you suspect a food allergy or your child presents allergic symptoms. Always call 911 if a child is unresponsive or is having difficulty breathing. Following an incident, immediately consult your pediatrician to discuss treatment options. When dining out, alert wait staff to your child’s special food restrictions and be sure to inform your child’s caregivers and school of allergic conditions.
Take the test
Allergy tests are rarely performed on children unless a food allergy presents itself. Generally, skin tests are preferable, because they deliver faster and more specific results than blood tests. Can children outgrow food allergies? Some, but not all. Children may outgrow allergies to foods such as eggs, soy products and milk as they mature. However, it is important not to make assumptions and consult your physician.
Man’s best friend?
Eleven million Americans suffer from cat allergies alone. 15 percent of all Americans suffer from animal allergies. Parents with these conditions are most likely to have children with the same dilemma. However, that is not always the case. A child with two allergic parents could be completely allergy free! Also, it is important not to be complacent. Children may develop a pet allergy at any time. Symptoms may include watery, red and swollen eyes, sneezing and runny nose. Children also may develop hives, rashes and even asthma.
It is recommended that you limit your pet to certain areas of your home, invest in a HEPA filter, remove carpets that trap dander and wash your child’s hands after they play with the pooch or feline.
Consult your physician if your child’s symptoms persist or worsen. By being aware, parents can help make sure every child is safe from dangerous allergies.
Leah Foley is a graphic designer for Adams Street Publishing as well as a concerned mom who desired to “spread the word” after witnessing a child’s severe allergic reaction at a local restaurant.