Quick Tips to Protect Your Children from Food Allergies How you and your spouse can identify, prevent and protect your child from obtaining common food allergies. BY CHERYL TALLMAN
Protecting your kids from food allergies isn't impossible, it just takes a little attention to diet.
Nuts are a common allergen among children and they can cause one of the more severe, even life-threatening allergic reactions known as anaphylaxis. Only about 6 percent of all children have clinically diagnosed food allergies. This number is rather small, but food intolerance, which presents itself much like a food allergy, adds to the public perception that this is a major issue. While the medical difference is quite different, the solution to a food allergy and intolerance is to remove the culprit food from you or your child’s diet.
Food allergies can be very dangerous and early detection is critical to managing them and the health of your child. Any family history of food allergies should be discussed between you and your spouse and with your healthcare provider prior to introducing solid foods to your baby. Food allergies or food intolerances can occur even if there is no previous family history of such. As you introduce your child to new foods, you should present them one at a time and watch for any changes in your child’s appearance or behavior. Some common symptoms of food allergies/intolerances include:
* Rashes or eczema, especially on the face
* Diaper rash
* Runny nose, watery eyes or sneezing
* Diarrhea, gas or vomiting
* Temperament changes
* Puffy eyes
* Nasal congestion
One way to prevent food allergies is not to introduce commonly-known allergenic foods until later in your baby’s life, at one, two or even three-years-old. This approach is referred to as "delayed introduction." The foods that children react to are those foods they eat often. The most common food allergens that cause problems in children are eggs, milk, peanuts, soy and wheat. A more complete list includes:
Fortunately, most allergic reactions in babies are temporary and the culprit foods can usually be reintroduced when the child is older. Food allergies can be very serious, so it is important to follow the advice that is given to you by a healthcare professional.
Help for the allergy sufferer: While there is no cure for food allergies, eliminating foods from your diet is often easier said than done. Reading ingredient labels of foods can be a daunting and confusing task. Eight major foods including milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soybeans account for 90 percent of food allergies. If you or your child suffers from one of these common food allergies there is some good news that makes reading ingredient labels easier. Food manufacturers are now required to include a listing of the plain English name of these culprit foods just below the ingredient listing. These standards provide a definite improvement for the food allergy sufferer.
Cheryl Tallman is the co-founder of Fresh Baby, creators of the award-winning So Easy Baby Food Kit, and author of the "So Easy Baby Food Basics: Homemade Baby Food in Less Than 30 Minutes Per Week" and "So Easy Toddler Food: Survival Tips and Simple Recipes for the Toddler Years." Visit Cheryl online at www.FreshBaby.com for more delicious tips.