What is an allergic reaction? An allergic reaction is the body’s response to what it deems to be a harmful substance. Typically the immune system kicks into overdrive causing a plethora of symptoms. Food stuffs that result in allergic reactions are known as allergens and sometimes all it takes is a tiny amount of the allergen to kick start the reaction. If your child is allergic to something you can expect a response if they ingest it.
The most common food allergens that we encounter in children and babies are: eggs, wheat, soy, dairy and nuts. Sometimes children can outgrow their allergies, though bear in mind allergies to nuts tend to be with us for life.
Allergic symptoms can occur anywhere in the body, most usually they happen on the skin. A skin reaction can result in an itchy rash or hives. They can occur in the eyes causing itchy, red, runny eyes. In the mouth they can cause swelling of the lips, tongue or throat which can lead to trouble breathing, wheezing, then dizziness, or fainting. Sometimes the reaction can result in stomach ache, vomiting or diarrhoea. In some cases people can get incredibly anxious, panicking that something might happen.
Speak to your child’s doctor to get a full list of possible symptoms for whatever their allergy might be. Know what to do if they have an allergic reaction and have an emergency care plan in place.
How to avoid allergic reactions:
- Keep your child away from known allergens.
- Always read food labels thoroughly and ensure you don’t give your child anything potentially harmful. Even if you know the product, always check the label as manufacturers can change ingredients without notifying the consumer.
- Always wash your hands and your child’s hands prior to eating. Prepare food in a clean environment.
- Educate those who have contact with your child about their allergies. Always tell the school and make sure they know the emergency care plan.
- Teach your child about their allergies. Make sure they know the seriousness of the situation. When they are old enough show them how to use the epinephrine autoinjector.
6. Stay positive. Focus on what your child can do, rather on what they can not do or eat. Have fun exploring new ingredients and new foods together.