How to detect deadly food allergies in kids before it's too late
Moms and dads, know the signs and symptoms of an impending allergy attack to stop it in its tracks!
About 1 in every 13 children is allergic to at least one type of food, according to Food Allergy Research and Education. And out of 4o% of kids with allergies have experienced serious attacks.
The worrying thing about allergies is that it often isn't detected unless the kids has a reaction after ingesting a food they're allergic to. That's why it's important for parents to be vigilant in spotting the signs of an impending allergy attack to act quickly.
First, it's important to determine allergy triggers. A food allergy is the result of an immune system response. It treats an allergy like a virus, producing the necessary antibodies to shield the body against it; this results in what are known as allergy symptoms.
During an attack, your child's breathing may be affected. It could also produce symptoms concerning their digestive and cardiovascular system, as well as their skin. Symptoms usually appear within an hour or so after ingesting a certain food. Here are some common symptoms:
- colds, runny nose
- stomach pain
- mouth or ear itching
- rashes and hives (large, itchy red bumps)
- difficulty breathing
- swelling of face, lips, tongue
Since kids can't fully describe what they're feeling just yet, parents should make sure to pay attention when they tell you things like, "My tongue feels big."; "The room is spinning." or "Something is blocking my throat."
What are the most common foods that trigger allergic reactions?
- peanuts and other nuts (walnuts, cashews, and almonds)
- cow's milk
- fish and shellfish
The severe kind of allergy attack is known as anaphylaxis, which can be life threatening. Call for emergency help or rush your child to the hospital if you suspect this is happening, based on the following symptoms:
- difficulty breathing or wheezing
- chest pain
- swelling of the mouth and tongue
- difficulty swallowing
- turning blue (or cyanosis)
- weak or slow pulse
If your child has been diagnosed with a severe allergy, make sure they have an epinephrine (adrenaline) auto-injector with them at all times as well as the necessary instructions, so their teachers and other caregivers can act quickly in the event of an emergency.
Just because your child reacts to a certain food, it doesn't mean they are already allergic to it. There is such a thing as food intolerance. It's best to consult a pediatrician or allergy specialist to confirm what your child's condition is and to come up with the best treatment plan.