Children and food allergies
A food allergy is a condition in which the immune system incorrectly identifies a food as a threat and defends the body from it by releasing chemicals into the blood; the chemicals cause what is known as an allergic reaction.
- Food allergy vs. food intolerance
Allergies cause an immune system reaction and can be mild to life-threatening. Intolerance causes a digestive system reaction.
8% of children under 18 are allergic to at least one food.
40% of kids with allergies experience severe symptoms.
1 in 17 children younger than 3 are allergic to at least one food.
2 million school days per year are lost to allergies of all kinds
- Most common food allergies
- Common symptoms of allergic reaction
Symptoms can occur within a few minutes of eating or as long as two hours later (rashes, hives, nausea, vomiting, sneezing, itching, metallic taste in mouth, sensation of warmth, shortness of breath, increased heart rate, loss of consciousness)
- 3 ways to test for food allergies
Rast. A laboratory blood test looking for specific food antibodies.
Oral food challenge. Suspected foods are administered to patient orally to test reactions.
- Skin test. Picking the skin with a suspected allergen
Angie's list has pediatrician reviews
SOURCES: http://www.kidshealth.org/parent/medical/allergies/allergy.html; http://www.allergies.about.com/od/foodallergies/tp/topfoodallergyc.htm; http://children.webmd.com/news/20110620/food-allergies-in-kids-more-common-thatn-thought; http://www.foodallergy.org/downloads/MediaQA.pdf; http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/food-allergy/AN1109; http://www.aafa.org/display.cfm?id=9&sub=20&cont=286
Image credit: The Noun Project