Being a parent is a tough gig. But add in a child with illness and is restricted with foods and life can become a lot more difficult.
The truth is, trying to figure out which foods are causing the problems can be quite complex, leaving most parents to go it alone and therefore excluding all kinds of foods to actually help their child. By doing this, they could in fact be putting their child at risk of further nutritional deficiencies.
It is important to get the right professional help as soon as you think your child has a problem.
- See a Doctor for a diagnosis
- If required, a reference will be given to a paediatric dietician to check that your child grows and is ensured of the proper nutrients he or she needs. By seeking such advise you will also be advised about what your child can and can’t eat, as well as how to source alternative foods.
According to The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, a recent study showed that one in ten children in Australia are allergic to one or more foods. And that number is rising with other studies, suggesting figures of 100 per cent increase in peanut allergies in the past 15 years. Enter the ‘what to eat when pregnant debate here’ and let’s get this party started. Another time perhaps…
What are the signs of an allergic reaction?
In more extreme cases symptoms can be instantaneous but usually symptoms start within 30 minutes of consumption. However the onset can often be delayed. Your child may get the following:
- An itchy rash (known as urticaria or hives)
- Swelling of the lips or eyes
- Abdominal pain
A more serious sign is if their breathing or circulation is affected. This is known as anaphylaxis, a serious, life – threatening allergic reaction with a rapid onset, involving one or more systems of the body.
What is the treatment?
Many clinical trials are underway and some of these include oral immunotherapy, this is where small amounts of the suspected food causing the allergic reaction are given over time to build up tolerance. Now I must stress that this is still experimental and should definitely NOT be tried at home as life threatening reactions have been known to occur. At this stage avoidance is your best option.
The most common childhood food allergies resolve themselves before adulthood. Some examples include; the majority of children will outgrow their allergy to cow’s milk by the age of three and eggs between the ages of 6 and 8. However, as mentioned above most will never lose their allergy to peanuts, tree nuts or seafood.
It’s important to highlight that any food can be potentially allergenic, however more than 90% of allergies in children are caused by the following;
- Peanuts & tree nuts
- Dairy products, such as cheese and cow’s milk
- Soy products
- Shell fish
Be sure to check out our recipes section for a collection of allergen free recipes that the whole family will love.