Introducing your child to a variety of new foods is highly encouraged by the experts and should be a very exciting time, however for many parents, particularly those with a family history of allergies, it can also be worrying.
Food allergies can vary from mild to extremely dangerous and come with a range of symptoms, some of which may be hard to spot straight away. To help you with spotting an allergy with your child and learning how to cope, this article lists the top five common food allergies you may come across in children.
Gluten is a protein substance and found in grains such as wheat, rye and oats etc. Although obvious in some foods, it can also be hidden, so when a gluten allergy is recognised in your child, checking food labels becomes a thorough task when shopping.
Allergies to gluten can produce a range of allergic reactions in your child ranging from minor skin rashes and hives, to more serious severe breathing difficulties and digestive problems. However, the good news is a high percentage of children grow out of the allergy around the age of 6 and there are plenty of gluten free foods to compensate for yummy meals in the meantime.
Gluten free bread is one of the most popular products and although it can be pricey in the supermarkets, it can easily be made at home too, with gluten free flour, along with other recipes for gluten free baking. Cooking together will also encourage your child to learn about their allergy and taste a variety of different foods and delicious alternatives.
Dairy Allergy (Milk & Egg)
A milk allergy can be tricky at the early stages of your baby’s development, which can be very worrying for new parents. It usually occurs when the child’s immune system starts fighting the milk protein instead of working with it and can result in reactions such as red rashes, facial swelling and sickness and diarrhoea.
Dairy free diet alternatives may be recommended for your child by your GP such as eliminating milk from your diet if you’re breastfeeding. However you need to ensure that you are still consuming enough calcium and other nutrients for your baby. There are also alternatives for formula fed children such as hydrosate formulas in which milk proteins are broken down.
For toddlers and older children, who have not grown out of the allergy, there are plenty of yummy dairy free treats, including dairy free chocolate. If your child’s dairy allergy is more weighted to eggs (which show similar symptoms to milk allergies) there are plenty of ways to avoid this ingredient too, however be sure to check labels religiously for any egg ingredients lurking around.
A peanut allergy, like most, can result in mild reactions such as mouth and lip tingling and a tightness in the throat to more severe cases such as a difficulty to breath, fast heart rate and low blood pressure. In the case of an anaphylactic reaction an adrenaline injection pen and ambulance must be involved as soon as possible.
Foods containing nuts are not recommended for children below the age of 6 months and a close eye should be kept on your child whilst introducing one type of food at a time.
Although there are no current cures for a nut allergy, free from foods are great with making mum’s lives easier at meal times and with thorough checks of product labels, the ingredient can be easily avoided.
Although seafood tends to be the last thing on a child’s list of dream dinners, parents are always encouraging their children to eat what’s good for them and fish happens to be filled with plenty of vitamins and minerals. However unlike other food allergies, seafood is particularly hard to find alternatives for.
The most common symptoms in children with a seafood/shellfish allergy usually start to appear on the skin. This could be in the form of hives, itching, swelling and eczema. For treatment, after prescribed medication, organic skin care products are a great way to ensure that no further reactions develop. Other symptoms include dizziness, abdominal pain and in serious cases difficulty with breathing.
Don’t forget, food allergies should not be forgotten about when visiting friends for dinner and eating out in restaurants. Always ask about the types of ingredients that have been used in your child’s meal and ensure that everyone is fully aware of their allergy before preparing food.
If a reaction starts, always ensure you are ready and fully prepared with the right treatments.
Natures Health Box specialise in organic baby food, natural skincare and gluten free and dairy free products, ensuring that your child is well catered for at every stage of their life.