Have you ever wondered why your kids eat a particular food and they immediately have a rash, itchy skin or even breathing difficulties? These irritations can be caused by reactions to food known as food allergies.
Yearly, about 5% of adults and 8% of children are affected by food allergies and these percentages keep increasing daily. Food allergies are extremely common all over the world. However, these allergies are more common in infants and toddlers because they have a less developed immune system compared to adults.
What is a food allergy? In medical terms, a food allergy is an immune system condition or reaction that occurs after eating a certain food. These foods are said to trigger an abnormal immune reaction where your immune system wrongly recognizes some of the proteins in food as harmful to your body. This then leads the body to release chemicals like histamine which is responsible for inflammation.
In simpler terms, a food allergy is a situation where the body sees a harmless food as a food that you should not be eating. Therefore, anytime your child eats something that his/her body considers as harmful; they have allergic reactions.
Some parents tend to confuse food intolerances with food allergies. Intolerances are minor reactions to food and an example is beans giving you gas. However, it is important to understand that although some food intolerance and food allergies may have the same symptoms, food intolerance does not affect the immune system, only the digestive system.
Food allergies can result from all foods but some foods have been said to be more responsible for allergies in children.
FOOD THAT CAUSE ALLERGIES
In children, some of the foods that cause allergies include:
- Peanut and Tree nuts (walnuts, almonds, cashews, pistachios)
- Fish and Shellfish (shrimp, lobster)
SYMPTOMS OF FOOD ALLERGIES
Food allergies can be serious and its symptoms can happen within a few minutes after exposure to such allergic foods. Some symptoms of food allergies your child could have include:
- Swelling of the tongue, mouth or face
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Low blood pressure
- Red, swollen or dry itchy rash
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Dry cough
- Chest pain
- Itchy, watery, red eyes
While your child’s reactions to food can be serious, it’s important to know how to reduce your child’s risk of food allergies.
Here are 7 tips to reduce your child’s risk of food allergies:
1. Breastfeed Your Baby:
Breast Milk is good for your child. Not only because it is nutritious but because it can help protect your child from the risk of developing various food allergies. Breastfeeding has been linked to several health benefits and exclusively breastfeeding your baby for six months will keep your baby from developing the risk of having any food allergy. It’s recommended that your baby shouldn’t eat solid foods before they reach 6 months of age.
2. Introduce Solids after Six months of age:
To help reduce the risk of your child having a food allergy, it is important that you introduce solid food after 6 months of age. Introducing solids to children before they are six months has been linked to an increased risk of food allergy. Nonetheless, solid foods should be introduced to children at a gradual pace.
3. Introduce the common Food Allergens after 6 months:
Introduce the Dano Milk Food allergy 2 food allergens when you are sure that your baby is ready for solids. Many times, babies are ready for solid foods when they are 6 months and above. It has been confirmed that the risk of having any food allergy is lower when the food has been introduced to a baby at around that age. Therefore, after you introduce your baby to solid foods, offer the common food allergens like peanuts, fish, egg, gradually to your child.
4. Offer the common food allergens regularly:
After you have successfully introduced the common food allergen to your baby, offer the foods regularly or several times a week. This will help your child develop a tolerance to these foods and reduce the risk of a food allergy.
5. Eat Nutritious foods during pregnancy and breastfeeding:
To reduce the risk of your child developing a food allergy, it is important you eat a well-balanced diet when pregnant or breastfeeding. Eat meals that contain fruit, veggies, grains, protein, dairy and other nutrient-enriched meals. Avoiding foods that commonly cause allergies – for example, eggs and peanuts – while pregnant or breastfeeding will not reduce the risk of your baby developing food allergies.
6. Rely on your Health Practitioner:
It is important to always consult your nutritionist or dietitian as you start your journey to reduce the risk of your child getting food allergies. Always ask your health practitioner for recommendations and approaches to help administer food to your child. If you have any reason to suspect an allergy, visit your practitioner.
7. Do not Fret:
One way to be a better parent is to believe in yourself. To help reduce your child’s risk of food allergies, ensure that you are careful but do not be scared of parenting.
We are positive that with these tips, you can reduce your child’s risk of developing food allergies. Keep in mind that almost any food can lead to an allergy. Although there is no cure for food allergy, children tend to outgrow their allergies as they grow older.