Do you think your baby or child has a food allergy or intolerance?
If so, please read on for my overview of allergies. However, if you are concerned about a specific food allergy or intolerance feel free to get in touch directly.
What causes a food allergy?
Food allergies are common in children, and often are temporary, but some are life long. They’re caused by the immune system’s response to a certain food when it thinks it is harmful. Intolerances can sometimes be mistaken for allergies, but these do not involve the immune system, despite causing unpleasant symptoms such as bloating, abdominal pain and diarrhoea.
Common food allergies that I see in children include cow’s milk, soya, wheat, egg, fish and nuts.
What are common symptoms of a food allergy?
Symptoms of allergies vary and can include:
- unsettled behaviour
- runny nose
- red itchy eyes/ skin
- rash/ eczema
- swollen lips/tongue/eyes/face
- abdominal pain and diarrhoea
Although unpleasant, most allergic reactions are mild and can be treated with diet modifications, antihistamines and various topical treatments.
Severe allergies/ Anaphylaxis are rare but can be life threatening requiring emergency medical treatment.
Signs of anaphylaxis include:
- throat swelling
- difficulty breathing
- blue skin
- collapse or loss of consciousness
Call 999 if your child displays any of these signs.
Diagnosis of allergies
Suspected food allergies should be discussed with a qualified health professional such as a doctor or dietitian.
Allergies can be diagnosed by assessment of medical history and symptoms, by skin prick testing, blood tests, elimination diets, and food challenges. Home allergy testing kits are not recommended.
Treatment of allergies
Treatment depends on what you are allergic to, and how severe the allergy is. You should seek support from your doctor or dietitian to manage your child’s food allergy.
Allergy UK is a trusted and reliable source of online information for allergies, however, you should always seek support from a qualified doctor or a dietitian.
Are you worried about your child’s food allergy or intolerance? Please get in touch or comment.