Different type of food allergies in kids

type of food allergies

Are you worried about food allergies in kids? As a parent, it is necessary that you are aware of the culprit foods that cause allergic reactions. And also replace them with healthy and nutritious choices. Firstly, let us understand what is food allergy and what are the common type of food allergies that kids face.

What is food allergy?

Food allergy is an abnormal/adverse reaction that takes place in the body after the ingestion of certain foods. According to the National Health Survey conducted in 2016, around 6% of children have food allergies. In some cases, they also cause severe and life-threatening reactions. Mostly, parents are not aware of the food allergy in their kids until they get a reaction after giving the food for the first time. Hence, it is really important for every parent to know about the different type of food allergies and their symptoms. (Introducing solids to babies?)

TYPE OF FOOD ALLERGIES COMMONLY FOUND in kids:

Culprit foods that cause different type of food allergies in kids are as follows:

  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Peanuts
  • Tree nuts such as almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, walnuts, cashews
  • Fish and shellfish
  • Soy
  • Wheat 

Milk Allergy:

The most commonly occurring food allergy in kids is milk allergy. Children below 3 years of age are more allergic to milk than other age groups. The milk proteins i.e. casein and whey proteins present in milk cause milk allergy. If the children are allergic to cow’s milk, they may also have allergic reactions to milk from other animals like sheep, goats. However, milk allergy is not similar to lactose intolerance. Moreover, children are most likely to overcome milk allergy by the age of 16, which is not the same as lactose intolerance. (Which milk is good for kids?)

Egg allergy:

Children develop allergic reactions to an egg when their immune system sensitizes the proteins in egg whites or yolks. Children with egg allergy are allergic to either egg white or yolk or sometimes both. Since the egg is used in the preparation of many foods such as bakery products, salad dressings, ice cream, care should be taken to eliminate these foods completely from the diet. (What are the other source of protein rich foods?)

Peanut and tree nut allergy

The peanut and tree nut allergy are always confusing. Peanut belongs to the legume family as that of soybeans, peas while tree nut do not. Kids allergic to peanuts may also be allergic to at least one of the tree nuts.  Therefore, giving candies, cereals and, baked goods containing peanut and tree nuts to kids is not advisable.

Fish and shellfish allergy: 

Fish and shellfish allergy are not as common as the other allergies in kids. A shellfish allergy is caused when body attacks proteins from the crustacean and mollusk families of fish, commonly known as shellfish. In addition, they can cause a serious and potentially fatal allergic reaction with symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea.

Wheat allergy:

Wheat allergy is one of the type of food allergies which occurs as an allergic response to any of the proteins found in wheat. It affects mostly children but they usually outgrow this allergy by the time they reach ten years of age. It is known to be acquired from parents (i.e. if a parent is allergic to wheat, the child may also be allergic). Wheat allergy is different from gluten sensitivity or celiac disease.

Soy allergy:

Soybean, a member of the legume family causes allergy in young children below 3 years of age. Soy allergies are triggered by a protein found in soybeans. However, almost 70% of the children overcome this allergy when they reach adulthood.

What are the symptoms TO food allergIES?

When a particular food that is allergic is ingested into the body, it is considered a foreign particle. The body’s immune system starts producing chemicals called histamines against the food allergens which triggers the allergic responses. 

These allergic responses vary from person to person and can appear immediately or after several hours following the food intake. Reactions can be mild or severe affecting one or more parts of the body. This might involve skin (eczema), gastrointestinal system (child stomach pain), cardiovascular system (fainting), and respiratory system (shortness of breath). 

The mild symptoms to food allergies include:

Severe allergic reactions called anaphylaxis are also developed in children like:

  • chest pain, low pulse
  • wheezing  and difficulty breathing
  • swelling in tongue, lips, and throat
  • hives – an itchy and bumped rash
  • fainting
  • nausea or vomiting
  • turning blue

Tests for food allergies

Pediatrician will prescribe appropriate tests for food allergies. This might include blood test, skin prick test or dietary review. The doctor might conduct an interrogative session to know the child’s symptoms. Like how often the reaction occurs, the onset of symptoms from the time of food intake, and family history for allergies, before running the test.

  • Skin prick test: Tests for food allergies by pricking the forearm skin and exposing it to the food allergens. If reddish raised spots or bumps appear within 15 minutes, it means that the child is allergic to that particular food.
  • Blood test: To check the presence of IgE antibodies in the blood after the consumption of particular food.
  • Dietary review of foods: To understand the symptoms and identify the food allergens.

A food challenge test might also be conducted where the amounts of the food allergen are increased slowly, and the symptoms are noted down by the doctor. This is usually done to check if the child has overcome an allergy.

Treatment for food allergies

The child diagnosed with food allergies will have to eliminate the food causing allergic responses from the diet completely. Parents should always check the allergen labels of all the packaged food products.

Though it is not possible to cure food allergies, but the symptoms can be treated. Antihistamines are administered to kids to treat the symptoms such as itchy rashes, runny nose or child stomach pain. In case the child faces severe allergic symptoms, parents should consult the pediatrician. (What are the natural remedies for children’s allergies)

Difference between food allergy and food intolerances

Parents are often confused with the terms “food allergies” and “food intolerances”. Food allergy induces an immunological response whereas food intolerances do not. Food intolerance is related to the digestive system and the body finds it difficult to digest a certain food. Both of them might show similar symptoms but the treatment varies. The best way to prevent both of the conditions is to avoid the foods causing allergies. (Foods for healthy gut?)

Some examples of food intolerances are lactose intolerance, celiac disease, etc. In the case of lactose intolerance, the lactose sugar found in cow’s milk is not digested by the body. Celiac disease causes an immune reaction damaging the lining of the small intestine when gluten protein is taken. The symptoms are normally observed over time when the food that is allergic is consumed more. The best treatment for food intolerances is to avoid the foods that cause symptoms mainly child stomach pain. The doctor may also advise different ways to prevent or overcome the reactions. 

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Natural Remedies for different type of Allergy

Allergies are the major cause of sickness in most of the children and it is disheartening for the parents to see their child suffering. Though it is not possible for parents to control or prevent it fully but early detection of type of allergy can enhance the child’s quality of life, and decrease the number of missed school days and help parents reduce their leaves from work to take care of the child. An allergic disease affects about 35% of all children and has been increasing in recent years.

What are allergies?

Allergies are abnormal reactions from your immune system to things that are usually harmless to most people. Our immune system protects us from harmful organisms that cause illness. If you have an allergy that means your immune system mistakes a harmless substance as an invader. There are various substances that can cause different type of allergy or allergic reactions like some foods, dust, plants, pollens, or medicines and these substances are called allergens.

Why do allergies occur?

It is not known why people have different type of allergy. Inheritance can be one reason. If your close family member has allergies, you can be at higher risk of having them. There are also some substances that cause an allergic reaction. When the immune system fights with allergens thinking it will harm the body and it causes symptoms on the body which can range from mild to fatal at times. To defend the body, the immune system makes antibodies called immunoglobulin E (IgE) and these antibodies can cause certain cells to release chemicals into the bloodstream. The release of these chemicals is what causes the allergic reactions and it can affect eyes, nose, throat, lungs, skin and gastrointestinal tract. In future, if the body gets exposed to the same allergen, the reactions trigger again.

Some type of allergy are seasonal which means that they occur at a specific time of the year (when pollen count is high) while other allergies can happen when a person comes in contact with an allergen.

In children, skin allergies are most common followed by food allergies and respiratory allergies.

What are some of the common allergens?
  • Skin allergies are caused by dust, dirt, dyes or mold.
  • Air borne allergens are the most common which are carried through the air and include dust mites, pollens, pets and cockroaches.
  • Food allergies are caused by food allergens like cow’s milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, peanuts, soy and wheat.
  • Insect allergies can cause swelling, redness and itching at the site of the bite.
  • Few medicines can also cause allergic reactions.
  • Chemicals in dyes, household cleaners and pesticides also act as allergens.
What are the symptoms?

The type or severity of symptoms may vary from person to person and allergy to allergy. 

Skin allergies can cause redness, rashes, eczema, hives and contact dermatitis and can be painful and irritating for your child.

whereas type of Airborne allergy can cause allergic rhinitis, which mostly develops by the age of 10 in kids, reaches its peak in teens and early twenties and often disappears between the ages of 40-60. Symptoms may include sneezing, itchy nose, sore throat, stuffy nose and coughing. 

Food, medicines or insect allergies cause wheezing, trouble in breathing, coughing, hoarseness, throat tightness, stomachache, vomiting, diarrhea, hives, swelling and itchy, watery or swollen eyes.

How to diagnose allergies?

For skin allergies, your doctor will ask for the medical history of your child and family to identify a potential allergen. If required, the doctor might conduct a patch test or a skin prick test. In both these tests, a small amount of allergen is introduced in the skin to check for any allergic reaction. If diagnosed with a skin allergy, your pediatrician will prescribe an ointment or a gentle skin cleanser for your child’s skin allergy treatment.

If your child has cold-like symptoms which last for longer than a week or two or develops a cold at the same time every year, then your doctor might diagnose an allergy and prescribe some medications. Skin tests and blood tests are conducted to find the cause of an allergy. 

To detect food allergies early in toddlers, paediatricians advise introducing one new food to the baby at a time. Maintain a food diary and note down the food along with the date when you first gave it to your child and note down any discomfort or allergies that the child developed.

Home remedies for allergies:

Although there is no specific cure for allergies, the symptoms can be managed either by avoiding the allergen or taking proper medications. Few home remedies for allergies are mentioned below:

Saline nasal solution:

Nasal solution has been found to reduce the effects in both children and adults as it helps to clean mucus from the nose.

HEPA filters:

HEPA filters trap the airborne particles such as dust, pollen & pet dander and efficiently reduce the allergens inside the home.

Acupuncture:

Acupuncture has shown positive results in both seasonal and perennial allergic rhinitis

Honey:

Honey is one of the best naturally available home remedies for different type of allergy. It contains amino acids, vitamins and antioxidants which helps in healing. According to a theory, eating locally manufactured honey might reduce your allergic reaction over time to the pollen that the bees collect in your area to make their honey. But in some cases, when the honey is produced, it might get contaminated with bee pollen and pollen from other plants like buckwheat, tulips and sunflower. In case you are allergic to pollen, so you might also become allergic to honey.

Air Conditioners and Humidifiers:

Air conditioners and humidifiers can lower the growth of mildew and mold that cause allergies.

Peppermint oil:

Peppermint oil has anti-inflammatory properties that can lower the symptoms of bronchial asthma and allergic rhinitis.

Eucalyptus oil: 

Eucalyptus oil has antimicrobial properties that acts as a wonderful home remedies for allergies.

Steam inhalation:

Inhaling steam can help to ease a stuffy nose and breathe comfortably.

Nutrients/ Foods that can help: 

Vitamin C: Vitamin C boosts the immune system and acts as a natural antihistamine. Fruits & vegetables like bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, citrus fruits, kiwi, strawberries, winter squash, tomatoes and tomato juice are high in vitamin C.

Bromelain: Bromelain is an enzyme found in pineapple juice and is also available as a supplement.

Probiotics: Probiotics help the body maintain a healthy balance of gut bacteria and boosts the immune system which helps to fight allergies. It can be found in fermented food like wine, buttermilk, yogurt, kimchi and pickled vegetables. (What are some easy probiotic foods?)

Quercetin: Quercetin is an antioxidant that helps to lower allergy symptoms. It is found in apples, berries, black tea, broccoli, grapes, red onions and red wine. (What fruits are food for teens?)

Cold compress: Rashes can be treated naturally by applying cold compress on the affected area. (How to reduce skin dryness or eczema?)

Home remedies for Child’s Skin allergy treatment:

Oatmeal bath: Oats can help in treating eczema and reduce itchiness. Adding oats to your bath water will help.

Aloe Vera: Aloe Vera helps in healing wounds and works as an anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiviral and antioxidant.

Coconut oil: Coconut oil is high in unsaturated fats and has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties which can relieve itching and rashes and is an excellent remedy for child’s skin allergy treatment. (What oils to treat growing leg pain in kids?)

Epsom salts (or Dead Sea salts): Adding Epsom salt or dead sea salts in your child’s bath water can help to soothe muscle pains and relieve itching and scaling. (What are the other numerous benefits of this salt?)

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We know that preparing and feeding healthy foods everyday is a huge task. Even more tough when kids are picky eaters. Kids prefer certain foods and formats. It is not easy to feed kids bitter Ayurvedic herbs, variety of vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds everyday.
Mixed with Ayurvedic herbs, this unique product is an easy solution to feed daily nutrition for Immunity, Brain development, Bone strength and overall-growth to kids without any fuss.


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