Toddler food allergy

What is a toddler food allergy?

A toddler food allergy is when our immune system wrongly interprets as harmful something we have eaten, and reacts to it.

Food intolerance is different. It is a particular food or ingredient which we are intolerant to and cannot digest normally. This will result in an unpleasant reaction. Lactose intolerance is by far the most common which usually results in bloating or diarrhoea.

Is my child having an allergic reaction?

Allergies are not that common, only around 6% of children are likely to have them. It is more likely to be food intolerance. If your child is having an allergic reaction, it will be because their immune system, having been alerted a previous time when eating the same food, releases antibodies to fight off what it sees as an attack.

What are the possible symptoms of an allergic reaction?

In some cases an allergic reaction can cause chronic eczema. Your child may develop itchy, dry skin often behind the knees and elbows, and on the face.

Other symptoms include hives (red bumps on the skin) or runny eyes and nose. Some allergies bring about vomiting or diarrhoea.

Some reactions can be severe and even life threatening.

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Which foods cause allergies?

People can be allergic to all sorts of foods, but there are some foods which are more likely to cause reactions. These are wheat, soy, eggs, milk, nuts, fish and shellfish.

My child is having an allergic reaction - what should I do?

If your child has a toddler food allergy and is having violent vomiting or diarrhoea, having difficulty breathing or swelling of the face or lips, call an ambulance straight away. It is better to be safe than sorry, and reactions like this can be very serious, even life threatening.

If the reaction is milder, consult your doctor. Try to list what your child has eaten. Your doctor may refer you to a specialist who can test your child for allergies.

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Can my child outgrow the allergy?

It is certainly possible, many toddlers have outgrown their allergy to eggs, milk, wheat and soy by the time they reach school age. Allergies to nuts, fish and shellfish are more likely to continue into adulthood.

Can food allergies be cured?

There is no cure for food allergies. They may go away by themselves, but in the meantime the only way to overcome them is to avoid the food altogether. If your child has had a severe reaction to the food, it is important to avoid this coming into contact in anyway with the food your child is going to eat. Many families stop having the food altogether to avoid the possibility of another reaction.

Return from 'Toddler Food Allergy' to 'Toddler Nutrition'.

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