With nearly 11 million Americans affected by food allergies
It is important to learn how to recognize an allergic reaction and how to treat it. With up to 6% of American children under the age of 3 having food allergies (according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration), it is absolutely imperative for parents and care providers to be as informed as possible.
When a child comes in contact with food that it is allergic to, the body’s immune system will label it “harmful” and create antibodies to fight the food allergen. The next time that child comes in contact with the same food (touch, digestion or inhalation), the body will release chemicals such as histamine. These chemicals trigger allergic symptoms, affecting the respiratory system, gastrointestinal tract, skin, or cardiovascular system.
Symptoms can include a runny nose, an itchy skin rash, a tingling in the tongue, lips, or throat, swelling, abdominal pain, or wheezing.
There are eight common allergens that are responsible for 90% of all allergic reactions in children: milk, eggs, peanuts, soy, wheat, tree nuts like walnuts and cashews, fish and shellfish (such as shrimp). In general, children outgrow most food allergies.
Allergic reactions can vary in severity and body location for each child. To determine whether or not your child has food allergies, consult with a doctor or allergist.
They will help you with tips on meal preparation and how to prevent allergic reactions, medication as well as with communication with teachers, schools and other care providers.
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