Food allergy in kids is one of the most common problems, especially in younger kids. There are some allergies which can prove fatal even if the problematic food item is taken in small amounts. Some of the very commonly known food items that cause allergies in most of the children are cow’s milk, soy, nuts, seafood, eggs, and wheat.
Causes of Food Allergies in Kids
These allergies are caused when the body immune system misjudges a food item as a dangerous, disease-causing organism and reacts to it by producing antibodies. This confused immune system makes a person feel sick because it starts fighting against that food item considering it as harmful. On detecting the allergic substances, the immune system’s antibodies start producing mast cells. These mast cells produce chemicals like histamine in the bloodstream. These chemicals have adverse effects on the respiratory and digestive system, nose, throat, and skin. The early symptoms include runny nose, tingling sensation in lips or tongue, itchy skin rash resembling hives, etc. reaction severity may vary from person to person and can be mild or severe. These symptoms can either appear immediately after the intake of food or after a few hours. Some other symptoms include wheezing, cough, tightened throat, nausea, hoarse voice, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach ache.
Some can even suffer from a sudden and harsh allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. Many problems are faced by the patient at the same time which affects digestion, breathing, blood vessels, heart, and skin. The blood pressure comes down rapidly, tongue and breathing tube swells. Those who suffer from such symptoms should always be ready for an emergency situation. They should always keep with them medicine which may help them fight against allergic reactions.
In some cases, detecting the culprit of food allergies in kids is very easy because of the immediate appearance of symptoms, while in many other cases, it can’t be easy to detect the cause. In such cases, one needs to monitor very vigilantly. Especially the food items containing many ingredients need to be scrutinized thoroughly. In most cases, the food allergies in kids are inherited from other family members but environmental changes and changes in body metabolism play an important role in activating them. In many cases, the child shows a very mild reaction to an item which may not actually be the result of an allergy. E.g. if a child suffers from belly pain and diarrhea after taking dairy products, it might be because of the incapability of digestive system to properly digest lactose and may not be able to break down the sugars.
In severe conditions, the child should be taken to the doctor immediately, who may refer him further to an allergy specialist if needed. The doctor would ask a few questions regarding past allergies, the time period between consumption of food and appearance of symptoms, etc. and may also ask about the conditions associated with allergies like asthma, eczema, and if the allergies are inherited or not. The two common tests that are conducted in this regard are skin test and a blood test for scrutinizing the antibodies and their reaction on the skin in the case of allergies.
Those children who are allergic to egg and milk, usually outgrow this allergy with age, however, the severe allergies, especially those related to peanuts, shrimps, fish, etc, may last forever. Not only food, but children can also develop allergies for pollens and some medicines. Unfortunately, there is no specific medicine to cure allergies, so the only way to avoid them is to avoid their cause.