03/31/2009 05:00PM, Published by Super Admin, Categories: In Print
Because of her significant peanut allergy, Zoe also has to remember to avoid eating or touching anything with peanuts, or her mouth will begin to swell and she’ll likely start vomiting.
According to Kids with Food Allergies, one in every 17 American children experience adverse, sometimes life-threatening, reactions to common everyday foods like milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish and shellfish.
For food sensitive kids like Zoe, the simple act of eating requires constant deliberation. But while monitoring everything a child ingests may sound overwhelming, parents say lots of preparation and communication keep a helping of stress off their daily plates.
Diagnosing Food Allergies
Dr. Kam Rao, an Asthma-Allergy Specialist in Placerville since 1992, estimates he sees two to five new pediatric food allergy cases a month.
He cautions parents that warning signs can be subtle. “One thing to watch for is a child with typical hayfever-like symptoms not common in children,” Rao says. “Also hives, itching, rashes and even occasional vomiting should make food allergies a consideration.” Rao says the best way to know for sure if your child has an allergy is through a simple skin prick test.
Proper diagnosis is important since food allergies often trigger immune system responses that affect the skin, and gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts. In extreme cases, reactions cause anaphylaxis, a condition which can lead to death.
Aside from allergies, still thousands more children suffer from food intolerances, an entirely different development, marked by digestive system responses such as nausea, cramping, gas or diarrhea.
Plan and Prepare
Many parents of food-allergic kids say simple steps can significantly reduce stress about accidental exposures.
- Prepare a Food Allergy Action Plan detailing your child’s allergy and emergency information.
- Pack your child’s own “safe” food when possible. Send along their personal special cupcake for birthday celebrations.
- Have your child wear or carry medical alert information.
- Always carry or have access to rescue medicine – antihistamines or the life-saving EpiPen.
A healthy serving of knowledge, sprinkled with some practical tips, can help families of children with food allergies enjoy life without being consumed by worry.
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