Common Food Allergies in Children
Food allergy is an abnormal response to a food triggered by the body’s immune system. The protein component of a food is considered to be the causative factor in food allergy. Symptoms of the food allergy can include wheezing, itchy skin, headache, vomitting, sneezing, difficulty breathing, skin rashes such as hives and eczema, diarrhea, adbominal pain, indigestion, swelling of the face and eyes. The same food can cause different symptoms in different people.
Food allergy is estimated to affect 11 million Americans. The prevalance of food allergy is more in children compared to adults. There is no cure for food allergy. Avoidance of the specific food trigger is the main treatment of food allergy. Food allergies in children resolve as they get older. Here is a list of common food allergies in children.
1. Milk: Cow milk's is the most common cause of food allergies in children. Infants who are allergic to cow's milk usually switched to hydrolyzed formula such as Nutramigen. Some of the foods to avoid if they are allergic to cow's milk include cheese, condensed milk, buttermilk, yogurt, margarine, casein, hydrolysates, lactalbumin, sour cream, whey, nougat, puddings made with milk, cream cheese, chocolate milk, strawberry milk, curds, instant mashed potatoes, coffee creamers, white sauces and other foods made with milk. Children who cannot consume milk or milk based foods should take addtional sources of calcium in their diet. You can substitute soy milk, almond milk or rice milk for cow's milk. Talk to your health care provider first.
2. Peanuts: Peanuts are made from legumes from the pea and bean family. Other foods to avoid if they are allergic to peanuts include chili, ground nuts, artificial nuts, marzipan, baked goods, candy, peanut butter, mixed nuts and anything made with peanuts. Kids who are allergic to peanuts can be sensitive to foods with even tiny amounts of peanuts in them.
3. Eggs: Eggs allergies is another common cause of food allergies in children, infants and adults. Children who is allergic to eggs should avoid foods made with eggs. Some of the foods incude bavarian creams, breaded foods, cream pies, cream puffs, cake, pancakes, french toast, cookies, eggnog, bread, ice cream, pasta, doughnuts, egg rolls, egg noodles, hollandaise sauce, puddings, custard, marshmallows, mayonnaise, muffins, pretzels, tartar sauce, waffles,cream fillings, and creamy salad dressings. Children should avoid anything made with eggs. In order to prevent allergies to eggs, it is better to avoid giving eggs until he or she is one year old. Also read labels carefully. Some egg substitutes contain egg whites.
Food allergies in children
4. Soybean: Soybean allergies is usually found in infants who drink soy formula. It is also seen in older children who drink soy milk. Soybean are legumes. Other foods in the legume family include navy beans, kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans, string beans, chickpeas, lentils, carob, licorice and peanuts. Some of the foods to avoid if they are allergic to soybean include tofu, soybean oil, hot dogs, veggie burgers, miso soup, soy sauce, vegetable broth, soy milk, soy fruits, soy curds, soy sprouts, vegetable gum, emulsifiers and hydrolyzed vegetable protein. Some kids may be allergic to more than one legume.
5. Wheat: Wheat allergies is found in infants, children and adults. If the child is allergic to wheat, they may switch to rice or oatmeal cereal. Other foods to avoid include gluten, wheat flour, cornstarch, semolina, all purpose flour, white flour, couscous, acker meal, wheat pasta, and spelt. Many processed foods including ice cream may contain wheat flour.
6. Tree nuts: Tree nuts may also cause allergies in children and adults. Some of the tree nuts to avoid walnuts, pecans, almonds, brazil nuts, filberts, pine nuts, pistachios, macadamia nuts, cashews, hazelnuts and other nuts made with hard shells. Tree nuts may also used in lotions and shampoos. Check the labels first.
7. Shellfish: Shellfish may cause allergic reaction include shrimp, crab, crayfish, lobster, clams, scallions, oysters, mussels, snails, cockle, sea urchin, abalone and squid.
Diagnosis of food allergy:
Skin pricking tests, blood tests or food challenges are the main tests used to detect food allergies.