Having a child with a food allergy is not an easy thing. A disease never is easy. But by educating yourself, getting into good habits, disciplining yourself as a parent, guiding and educating your family members, and especially teaching your child about what kinds of foods to avoid, and what to do in case of an allergic reaction, your child can live a completely normal and healthy life. As a parent, you want to make life for your child as easy as possible, so you want to study and learn as many things about the allergy as you can.
The first thing every parent needs to know, including those with seemingly normal children, is what kinds of foods are likely to cause an allergic reaction in children. Peanuts, nuts, fish, shellfish, soy products, dairy products, egg whites and wheat are the most common foods that can cause an allergic reaction. Since many of these food items are so often used in baking, if your child is allergic to any of these items, it can make life very difficult and unpredictable.
The next thing to realize is that not all allergies show up right away. Your child can develop an allergy later in childhood even if she hasn’t had one earlier. Sometimes the immune system creates antibodies over time that fights the food as if it were a deadly disease. So never assume that your child is not allergic to a certain food just because she has never had a reaction to it in years past.
Food allergies in children tend to run in the family. This can help you determine if your child has an allergy or not. If you have had problems with some of your other children, or if you know that this allergy runs in your family, you should try to see if there is anything you can do to prevent it. Some of the suggestions for preventing food allergies are to breast feed your child. This is a great way to help your child’s immune system to function properly. Also, in the foods listed above, delay feeding your baby these foods so that her immune system does not develop the allergy early on.
All parents of children with food allergies need to know how to read labels, and stay away from potentially dangerous baked goods where the ingredients cannot be determined for certain. The child must be educated to be able to tell whether or not she should eat a particular food or not.
Even with reasonable precautions, a child can sometimes eat something that has traces or even large amounts of the forbidden food. In this case, the child, the parents, the school nurse, the school staff, close relatives, and even friends and their parents should know a little about how to treat an allergic attack. For severe cases, a shot of epinephrine, an adrenaline hormone, can help suppress the immune system. For milder cases, an over the counter allergy medicine containing diphenhydramine can do the trick.
A parent also needs to know that over time, children can grow out of some of the allergies. By being disciplined, making diet sacrifices for the whole family, and sticking with the program throughout childhood, a child can live a normal, healthy life. What’s more, as an adult, the allergy may no longer cause a problem.
This article is not intended to replace the consultation of a licensed medical practitioner.