Top 5 Food Allergies In Kids: Symptoms And Diet Options
Over the past 10 years food allergies have grown an overwhelming 18% in children. In a study performed by the American Academy of Allergy Asthma Immunology (AAAAI), it was estimated that 8% of all children have some form of a food allergy. That’s an estimated 5.9 million children that are affected in the U.S. alone. This is a staggering number.
What are some of the most popular food allergies children suffer from?
Peanut/tree nuts: According to a study by the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI), peanut allergies are the most common form of allergies among children. Peanut allergies can also be the most severe. Children who are allergic to peanuts and tree nuts can experience a range of symptoms with varying degrees of severity. Symptoms: Symptoms range from an itchy mouth to swelling of the throat and wheezing. Peanut allergies can cause anaphylaxis and death if they remain untreated. Diet options: Avoid peanuts and all products made with peanuts. It’s important to read labels and find out whether peanuts are listed on the ingredient list or if the product has been made around peanuts.
Milk: It’s estimated that 2-5% of all babies are allergic to cow’s milk, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). Most children will outgrow their sensitivity by age 3. Symptoms: Babies with milk allergies may be overly fussy, which is thought to be caused by upset stomachs. Some children react with a rash or hives, asthma, and in rare cases anaphylaxis. Diet options: Avoid dairy products made with milk. Try soy milk as that seems to be tolerated the best. Avoid sheep and goat milk, as the sensitivity seems to carry over to these milks as well as cow’s milk.
Shellfish: Shellfish allergies are the third most common allergy among children according to the AAAAI. Unlike peanut and milk allergies, an allergy to shellfish tends to be a lifelong allergy. Symptoms: There are quite a few symptoms indicating a seafood allergy. These include: swelling, hives, wheezing, vomiting, and nasal congestion. The swelling occurs mostly around the lips, tongue and throat and can be life threatening. Diet options: If your doctor can pinpoint which shellfish you are allergic to, it’s possible to just eliminate that from your diet, but most people have to eliminate all shellfish from their diet.
Wheat: Wheat allergies are common in children and are often confused with Celiac disease. An allergy to a food will cause your body to react with antibodies as if something is invading and your body fights it off. With Celiac disease, the body can’t absorb the nutrients it needs to survive, which relates more to gluten intolerance. Symptoms: Many symptoms can occur with wheat allergies, such as itchiness or swelling of the mouth, vomiting, diarrhea, itchy or watery eyes, and anaphylaxis. Diet options: Substitute other types of grains in place of wheat. Check labels carefully because wheat can show up in unusual things like root beer.
Egg: One of the most common childhood allergies, but most children will outgrow their egg allergy by their teen years. Symptoms: These can include skin rashes, hives, inflammation of the nasal lining, vomiting, and other tummy troubles. Anaphylaxis is rare with egg allergies. Diet options: The best treatment of an egg allergy is avoiding eggs. Read labels thoroughly as eggs can appear in many different foods and in many different forms. One such unusual place you can find eggs is in a flu vaccination, so you should ask the doctor before getting a flu shot. In baked goods try substituting 1 ½ tablespoons of oil and 1 teaspoon of baking powder for each egg in the recipe.
According to a research study conducted at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in 2007, the allergies once thought to be outgrown in early childhood are now taking longer to outgrow. This is particularly true of milk and egg allergies. The reason for this has yet to be determined.
If you think your child may have an allergy or is having an allergic reaction, consult your child’s pediatrician or seek emergency treatment immediately if needed.