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Symptoms and myths of childhood food allergy

Symptoms and myths of childhood food allergy

There are many myths about food allergies , from the belief that parents overreact to food allergies and there is no idea that parents children are allergic to all.

Food allergies are common, but not as common as some parents think.

This brings us to one of the first myths about food allergies.

1) Any symptom you have after eating a food is a food allergy

Food allergies occur in up to 6 to 8% of children, but many more parents believe that their children have reactions to foods that are not actually caused by allergic reactions. Instead, these children might have lactose intolerance , aversion to food or other symptoms that have nothing to do with allergies, such as gas and hyperactivity .

Unlike food intolerances, true food allergies occur when a food triggers an immune-mediated reaction. This reaction involves the IgE antibody (immunoglobulin E), which causes certain cells in the immune system to release histamine, causing most of the symptoms of a food allergy.

2) Only certain foods can cause food allergies

It is true that only certain foods are more likely to cause food allergies, but children can be allergic to almost any food, including many fruits and vegetables (oral allergy syndrome). The foods that are most likely to cause food allergies, the so-called «allergic foods», include eggs, milk, peanuts, nuts, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish.

3) Children will not overcome their food allergies

It depends on what they are allergic to, but children can overcome many food allergies if they avoid them altogether (elimination diet) for two to three years. For example, more than 85% of children overcome allergies to milk, but fewer allergies to peanuts, nuts or shellfish.

However, about 20% of children can overcome their peanut allergy.

4) Peanuts are the most common food allergy in children

Peanut allergies These may be most likely to cause life-threatening allergic reactions (anaphylaxis), but cow’s milk allergy is the most common food allergy in young children.

5) A positive level of antibodies means that you are allergic to one or more foods

This is not necessarily true. Some of the newest allergy tests that have become popular, including RAST and Immunocap RAST, do not give a simple «yes or no» answer to your child’s allergies. Instead, they give a level of antibodies, which can range from negative or low to very high. Children with negative or low levels of antibodies and even moderate levels may not be allergic to these foods, so test results should be interpreted based on the symptoms that the child shows when eating these foods.

For example, if the RAST test shows low levels of antibodies to egg whites, but your child eats eggs every day and never has symptoms of a food allergy, they may not be allergic to eggs.

Misinterpretation of these allergic tests is one of the reasons why some children are diagnosed with multiple food allergies or are told they are «allergic to anything».

6) Cooking a food makes it less allergenic

Protein is the part of food that triggers an allergic reaction, and some people believe that cooking a food changes the protein enough so that your child is no longer allergic to it. This is why some people think that some children may be allergic to eggs, but still eat a cake that was made with eggs.

According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, most foods «can cause reactions even after cooking,» although «some allergens (most often from fruits and vegetables) cause allergic reactions only if consumed before cooking.»

7) If you are allergic to a food, sometimes it is good to eat small amounts

This is a dangerous myth. Just because your child has not had a reaction after eating a small amount of food to which he is allergic at one time, does not mean that he will not have a worse reaction next time. Also, because the best way to overcome a food allergy is to practice a strict elimination diet, in which you do not eat food for several years, consuming small amounts of food from time to time can reduce the chances of your child overdoing it. age. food allergies.

8) Food allergies are not real

Food allergies are real. And yes, some people are so allergic to food that they have reactions if the food is simply prepared with the same utensils or if they touch the food and do not actually eat it.

Because food allergies are so serious, make sure you respect a child’s food allergies and warn parents and children when a portion of food can be made from foods they are allergic to.

9) It is easy to avoid foods that your child is allergic to

Although it can be easy to avoid whole foods that your child is allergic to, such as milk and eggs, the real problem is that many of these types of foods are ingredients from other foods. So the hard part about avoiding allergic foods is trying to find out what foods you actually think you are feeding your child with.

Reading the labels of processed foods and asking about food ingredients when you go to a restaurant, have your child eat at school, or eat at home with a friend or relative can help identify hidden ingredients.

10) Food allergies are not serious

Food allergies can be fatal.

Every year, there are about 150 deaths a year due to severe allergic reactions to food.

In many cases, a younger child or adolescent with a known food allergy may eat foods to which he or she is allergic and may not survive a life-threatening allergic reaction in the following situations:

  • At school in a cooking class (a 16-year-old boy who ate a walnut in Chinese food)
  • Eating a cookie on a school trip (a 9-year-old boy with a peanut allergy)
  • Eating bread at home (16-year-old with milk allergy)
  • Eat an egg roll (a 12-year-old boy allergic to peanuts)
  • Eat a foil (an 18-year-old with a peanut allergy)
  • Eating a cookie at a friend’s house (a 17-year-old with a peanut allergy)
  • Eating sweets at a friend’s house (a 17-year-old with a peanut allergy)
  • I eat peanut butter at camp (a 17-year-old with a peanut allergy)
  • Eat peanuts at home (5 year old child allergic to peanuts)
  • Milk consumption in the camp (a 9-year-old boy allergic to milk)
  • I eat an egg roll at a restaurant (14 year old boy with peanut allergy)
  • Drink a protein shake at home (17-year-old with milk allergy)
  • Drink a chocolate mix drink at home (a 7-year-old with a milk allergy)
  • Eating a candied apple at the carnival (an 11-year-old boy allergic to peanuts)
  • Eating foil at a fast food restaurant in a mall (a 13-year-old boy allergic to peanuts)
  • Eating a cookie at a friend’s house (16-year-old with peanut allergy)

These are among some of the cases reported in a register kept by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology and the Allergy and Food Anaphylaxis Network and are just a few of the deaths caused by food allergies over the years.

If your child has a food allergy, make sure you teach him how to identify and avoid foods to avoid and make sure he always has an EpiPen available if he has a severe allergic reaction.