Food Allergies & Intolerances In Children

Allergies occur when the immune system wrongly identifies a harmless substance like food as a threat and triggers the production of large amounts of antibodies in the blood, which can contribute to FTT (Failure to thrive) conditions like eczema, hay fever, asthma, and diarrhea.

The most notorious foods that cause allergies include in children :

  • Eggs
  • Wheat-based foods
  • Fish, especially the shell-fish
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Cow’s milk and Dairy products
  • Berry and citrus fruits

To delay the onset of any allergic reaction, exclusively breastfeeding for at least six months is advisable. However, if this is not possible, it is important to discuss it with your doctor.
Avoid these high-risk foods when introducing solid foods or weaning until your baby is six months old.
Introduce new foods one at a time; this makes it easy to identify the specific food that caused the allergy in case of any reaction.

If there’s a family history of an allergy to a certain food, avoid it until the baby is seven years old.
Before withdrawing any of these foods from your baby, consult your doctor.
It’s important to note that though many children outgrow their allergies, some can last a lifetime.

Food Intolerance

Another often-used name for food tolerance is ‘false food allergy. It is a condition whereby the body cannot digest particular foods properly. Unlike an allergy, the situation is normally short-lived and does not involve the immune system. It is important to consult a pediatrician or a doctor before withdrawing any food you suspect your child is allergic to since the reaction could be just temporal.

Diagnosing A Food Allergy

Some of the symptoms that indicate an allergy include:

* Vomiting
* Itching and swelling in the mouth, throat, and skin
* Persistent diarrhea
* Abdominal pain
* Eczema
* Skin rashes

These symptoms resemble many other common ailments, and distinguishing them requires keen observation. Some children develop the symptoms immediately after eating the particular food; others may take hours or even a day to react. Mostly children below eighteen months are the ones likely to develop food allergies.

In addition to electrode testing and kinesiology, another way to accurately diagnose food allergies is to eliminate the allergen for at least a period of six weeks and then reintroduce them until the symptoms reappear. This is advisable to be done with the help of a nutritionist or dietitian.

Lactose Intolerance

This is a condition caused by the body’s inability to digest lactose. Lactose is the sugar present in milk. Symptoms of lactose intolerance include:
* Diarrhea
* Cramping
* flatulence
* Abdominal Distension

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Wanjiku Gachoka is a seasoned nutritionist with over ten years of experience. Her passion for educating communities on matters related to diet and nutrition has been the driving force behind her work.
Her main goal is to promote health and wellness while advocating for zero hunger.
Her approach to nutrition is grounded in making informed decisions, and she believes knowledge is power.

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