Allergies are a topic that causes parents a lot of anxiety, including me. When we first started introducing Henry to food, we decided to forgo the one food at a time rule. It seemed overly cautious and cumbersome to wait days between new foods, especially when there is no history of allergic reaction in our family.
We have been careful, however, with foods that have a family history of allergy. Daddy has an allergy to shellfish, although it developed when he was an adult. He also is peanut and dairy intolerant, but occasionally indulges in Thai food and ice cream. In addition, I had strong reactions to strawberries and peaches as a small child, allergies that disappeared as I grew older.
|Henry eats almost anything, but are we ready to introduce potential allergens?|
Reassuringly, the CDC reports that less than 5% of American children have a food allergy. Some studies have shown that delayed exposure to allergenic foods has no effect on the likelihood of developing an allergy, while other research suggests that delaying allergenic foods may actually increase the likelihood of a reaction. And living with food allergies seems to be getting easier as awareness increases.
Since we don’t have any life-threatening allergies in our family, we probably don’t need to have an EpiPan on standby. But what signs should we lookout for?
Common allergic reactions in children include skin rash, hives, difficulty breathing, or stomach pain. A skin rash near the mouth and diaper rash, however, are more likely to be responses to the acid in foods like citrus, kiwis and tomatoes. Our pediatrician also suggested that children with frequent runny noses and ear infections may have a dairy intolerance.
If a child experiences allergy symptoms, then it is time to meet with your pediatrician. If a child’s lips, tongue or face swells, or they have severe vomiting or diarrhea, then you should immediately call 911.