What causes allergies on babies

When you start introducing solid foods to your baby from around 6 months ancient, introduce the foods that can trigger allergic reactions one at a time and in extremely little amounts so that you can spot any reaction.

These foods are:

  1. foods that contain gluten, including wheat, barley and rye
  2. shellfish (don’t serve raw or lightly cooked)
  3. soya
  4. nuts and peanuts (serve them crushed or ground)
  5. eggs (eggs without a red lion stamp should not be eaten raw or lightly cooked)
  6. cows’ milk
  7. seeds (serve them crushed or ground)
  8. fish

See more about foods to avoid giving babies and young children.

These foods can be introduced from around 6 months as part of your baby’s diet, just love any other foods.

Once introduced and if tolerated, these foods should become part of your baby’s usual diet to minimise the risk of allergy.

Evidence has shown that delaying the introduction of peanut and hen’s eggs beyond 6 to 12 months may increase the risk of developing an allergy to these foods.

Lots of children outgrow their allergies to milk or eggs, but a peanut allergy is generally lifelong.

If your kid has a food allergy, read food labels carefully.

Avoid foods if you are not certain whether they contain the food your kid is allergic to.


If your kid has symptoms after eating certain foods, he or she may own a food allergy.

A food allergy occurs when the body’s immune system sees a certain food as harmful and reacts by causing symptoms.

This is an allergic reaction. Foods that cause allergic reactions are allergens.

Allergy Symptoms in Children

  1. Difficulty breathing (asthma)
  2. Sneezing, coughing, a runny nose or itchy eyes
  3. Skin rashes or hives (atopic dermatitis or eczema)
  4. Stomach upset

Food allergies

As numerous as 6 million children in the United States own some form of food allergy.

If a new mom is breast-feeding, some especially sensitive babies can own allergic reactions to foods their mothers eat. Babies can be tested for allergies. Eliminating these foods from the mother’s diet may provide relief for the child.

The most common allergies in children are to peanuts and milk; other frequently seen triggers include eggs, fish, shellfish (crab, lobster, crayfish and shrimp), soy, tree nuts (for example, pecans, cashews and walnuts) and wheat.

The most severe reactions are typically to peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish — every allergies that can final a lifetime. Children often outgrow allergies to milk, eggs, soy and wheat.

All parents of a kid with a food allergy should be aware of the possibility of anaphylaxis — a potentially life-threatening reaction that impairs breathing, causes a sudden drop in blood pressure and can send a body into shock. For that reason, most children with food allergies are prescribed epinephrine (adrenaline), istered with an auto-injector as soon as symptoms develop.

Ear infections

Allergies lead to inflammation in the ear and may cause fluid accumulation that can promote ear infections and decreased hearing.

A baby whose hearing is impaired for any reason while learning to talk may develop poor lecture. Allergies can cause earaches as well as ear itching, popping and fullness (“stopped-up ears”). Anyone with these symptoms should see an allergist for possible testing and treatment.

Allergic rhinitis (hay fever)

Allergic rhinitis is the most common childhood ailment caused by allergies. Symptoms include a runny and itchy nose, sneezing, postnasal drip and nasal congestion (blockage). A kid with allergies may also own itchy, watery, red eyes and chronic ear problems.

Even though it’s commonly known as “hay fever,” allergic rhinitis isn’t triggered by hay and doesn’t cause fever.

IgE Mediated Food Allergies

The IgE mediated food allergies most common in infants and children are eggs, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, soy and wheat. The allergic reaction can involve the skin, mouth, eyes, lungs, heart, gut and brain. Some of the symptoms can include:

  1. Shortness of breath, trouble breathing, wheezing
  2. Immunoglobulin E (IgE) mediated. Symptoms result from the body’s immune system making antibodies called Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies.

    These IgE antibodies react with a certain food.

  3. Feeling love something terrible is about to happen
  4. Stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea
  5. Skin rash, itching, hives
  6. Swelling of the lips, tongue or throat
  7. Non-IgE mediated. Other parts of the body’s immune system react to a certain food. This reaction causes symptoms, but does not involve an IgE antibody. Someone can own both IgE mediated and non-IgE mediated food allergies.

Sometimes allergy symptoms are mild.

Other times they can be severe. Take every allergic symptoms seriously. Mild and severe symptoms can lead to a serious allergic reaction called anaphylaxis (anna-fih-LACK-sis). This reaction generally involves more than one part of the body and can get worse quick. Anaphylaxis must be treated correct away to provide the best chance for improvement and prevent serious, potentially life-threatening complications.

Treat anaphylaxis with epinephrine. This medicine is safe and comes in an easy-to-use device called an auto-injector. You can’t rely on antihistamines to treat anaphylaxis. The symptoms of an anaphylactic reaction happen shortly after contact with an allergen.

What causes allergies on babies

In some individuals, there may be a delay of two to three hours before symptoms first appear.

Cross-Reactivity and Oral Allergy Syndrome

Having an IgE mediated allergy to one food can mean your kid is allergic to similar foods. For example, if your kid is allergic to shrimp, he or she may be allergic to other types of shellfish, such as crab or crayfish. Or if your kid is allergic to cow’s milk, he or she may also be allergic to goat’s and sheep’s milk. The reaction between diverse foods is called cross-reactivity. This happens when proteins in one food are similar to the proteins in another food.

Cross-reactivity also can happen between latex and certain foods.

For example, a kid who has an allergy to latex may also own an allergy to bananas, avocados, kiwis or chestnuts.

Some people who own allergies to pollens, such as ragweed and grasses, may also be allergic to some foods. Proteins in the pollens are love the proteins in some fruits and vegetables. So, if your kid is allergic to ragweed, he or she may own an allergic reaction to melons and bananas. That’s because the protein in ragweed looks love the proteins in melons and bananas. This condition is oral allergy syndrome.

Symptoms of an oral allergy syndrome include an itchy mouth, throat or tongue.

Symptoms can be more severe and may include hives, shortness of breath and vomiting. Reactions generally happen only when someone eats raw food. In rare cases, reactions can be life-threatening and need epinephrine.

Two Categories of Food Allergies

  • Irritants: cigarette smoke, perfume, car exhaust
  • Asthma and physical education: Physical education and sports are a large part of the school day for numerous children. Having asthma does not mean eliminating these activities. Children with asthma and other allergic diseases should be capable to participate in any sport the kid chooses, provided the doctor’s advice is followed. Asthma symptoms during exercise may indicate poor control, so be certain that your kid is taking controller asthma medications on a regular basis.

    Often medication istered by an inhaler is prescribed before exercise to control symptoms.

  • School pets: Furry animals in school may cause problems for allergic children. If your kid has allergy or asthma symptoms while at school including coughing, difficulty breathing, a rash, runny nose or sneezing, it could be the class pet.
  • Outdoors: tree pollen, plant pollen, insect bites or stings
  • Non-IgE mediated. Other parts of the body’s immune system react to a certain food. This reaction causes symptoms, but does not involve an IgE antibody. Someone can own both IgE mediated and non-IgE mediated food allergies.
  • Immunoglobulin E (IgE) mediated.

    Symptoms result from the body’s immune system making antibodies called Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies. These IgE antibodies react with a certain food.

  • Foods: peanuts, eggs, milk and milk products
  • Indoors: pet or animal hair or fur, dust mites, mold
  • Dust irritation: At school, children with allergic problems may need to sit away from the blackboard to avoid irritation from chalk dust.

Nasal congestion

Allergies are the most common cause of chronic nasal congestion (a stuffy nose) in children. Sometimes a child’s nose is congested to the point that he or she breathes through the mouth, especially while sleeping.

This may also cause the kid to not get a restful night’s sleep and then be tired the next day. If the congestion and mouth-breathing are left untreated, they can affect the growth of teeth and the bones of the face. Early treatment of the allergies causing the nasal congestion may prevent these problems.

Non-IgE Mediated Food Allergies

Most symptoms of non-IgE mediated food allergies involve the digestive tract. Symptoms may be vomiting and diarrhea.

The symptoms can take longer to develop and may final longer than IgE mediated allergy symptoms. Sometimes, a reaction to a food allergen occurs up 3 days after eating the food allergen.

When an allergic reaction occurs with this type of allergy, epinephrine is generally not needed. In general, the best way to treat these allergies is to stay away from the food that causes the reaction. Under are examples of conditions related to non-IgE mediated food allergies.

Not every children who react to a certain food own an allergy. They may own food intolerance.

Examples are lactose intolerance, gluten intolerance, sulfite sensitivity or dye sensitivity. Staying away from these foods is the best way to avoid a reaction. Your child’s doctor may propose other steps to prevent a reaction. If your kid has any food allergy symptoms, see your child’s doctor or allergist. Only a doctor can properly diagnose whether your kid has an IgE- or non-IgE food allergy. Both can be present in some children.

Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE)

Eosinophilic (ee-uh-sin-uh-fil-ik) esophagitis is an inflamed esophagus.

The esophagus is a tube from the throat to the stomach. An allergy to a food can cause this condition.

With EoE, swallowing food can be hard and painful. Symptoms in infants and toddlers are irritability, problems with eating and poor weight acquire. Older children may own reflux, vomiting, stomach pain, chest pain and a feeling love food is “stuck” in their throat. The symptoms can happen days or even weeks after eating a food allergen.

EoE is treated by special diets that remove the foods that are causing the condition.

Medication may also be used to reduce inflammation.

Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome (FPIES)

FPIES is another type of food allergy. It most often affects young infants. Symptoms generally don’t appear for two or more hours. Symptoms include vomiting, which starts about 2 hours or later after eating the food causing the condition. This condition can also cause diarrhea and failure to acquire weight or height. Once the baby stops eating the food causing the allergy, the symptoms go away. Rarely, severe vomiting and diarrhea can happen which can lead to dehydration and even shock.

Shock occurs when the body is not getting enough blood flow. Emergency treatment for severe symptoms must happen correct away at a hospital. The foods most likely to cause a reaction are dairy, soy, rice, oat, barley, green beans, peas, sweet potatoes, squash and poultry.

Allergic Proctocolitis

Allergic proctocolitis is an allergy to formula or breast milk. This condition inflames the lower part of the intestine. It affects infants in their first year of life and generally ends by age 1 year.

The symptoms include blood-streaked, watery and mucus-filled stools.

Infants may also develop green stools, diarrhea, vomiting, anemia (low blood count) and fussiness. When properly diagnosed, symptoms resolve once the offending food(s) are removed from the diet.

Medical review December

No parent wants to see their kid suffer. Any kid can develop allergies, but they are more common in children from families with a history of allergies. Since it’s impossible for parents to control absolutely everything that their kid is exposed to or eats, parents should instead focus on monitoring their kid for symptoms.

Early identification of childhood allergies will improve your child’s quality of life, reduce the number of missed school days and assist you avoid having to use ill time or vacation days to care for your kid.

If your son or daughter is struggling, take control of the situation and consult an allergist today.

Early identification of childhood allergies will improve your child’s quality of life, reduce the number of missed school days and assist you avoid having to use ill time or vacation days to care for your child.

Common Allergy triggers in Children

  1. Indoors: pet or animal hair or fur, dust mites, mold
  2. Irritants: cigarette smoke, perfume, car exhaust
  3. Outdoors: tree pollen, plant pollen, insect bites or stings
  4. Foods: peanuts, eggs, milk and milk products

If you suspect your kid has an allergy, make an appointment to see an allergist.

Start a diary before the appointment and hold track of what symptoms your kid experiences and what you ponder causes them.

Allergies and school

Your child’s school should be informed of any allergies. If your kid has asthma or a severe allergy, give a copy of your child’s action plan to the school nurse or the istrative office. Also, discuss your child’s access to medication, including epinephrine (adrenaline), in case of an emergency.

  1. School pets: Furry animals in school may cause problems for allergic children. If your kid has allergy or asthma symptoms while at school including coughing, difficulty breathing, a rash, runny nose or sneezing, it could be the class pet.
  2. Asthma and physical education: Physical education and sports are a large part of the school day for numerous children.

    Having asthma does not mean eliminating these activities. Children with asthma and other allergic diseases should be capable to participate in any sport the kid chooses, provided the doctor’s advice is followed. Asthma symptoms during exercise may indicate poor control, so be certain that your kid is taking controller asthma medications on a regular basis. Often medication istered by an inhaler is prescribed before exercise to control symptoms.

  3. Dust irritation: At school, children with allergic problems may need to sit away from the blackboard to avoid irritation from chalk dust.

Do you suspect your kid has an allergy?

The symptoms could be a sign of a serious issue. Don’t delay: Discover an allergist today.

In July , Natasha Ednan-Laperouse collapsed on a flight from London to Nice, suffering a fatal allergic reaction to a baguette bought from Pret a Manger. At an inquest, the court heard how Natasha, who was 15 and had multiple severe food allergies, had carefully checked the ingredients on the packet. Sesame seeds – which were in the bread dough, the family later found out – were not listed.

“It was their fault,” her dad Nadim said in a statement. “I was stunned that a large food company love Pret could mislabel a sandwich and this could cause my daughter to die.”

This horrifying case highlights how careful people with allergies need to be, as do the food companies – not least because allergies own been growing in prevalence in the past few decades.

“Food allergy is on the rise and has been for some time,” says Holly Shaw, nurse adviser for Allergy UK, a charity that supports people with allergies. Children are more likely to be affected – between 6 and 8% of children are thought to own food allergies, compared with less than 3% of adults – but numbers are growing in westernised countries, as well as places such as China.

“Certainly, as a charity, we’ve seen an increase in the number of calls we get, from adults and parents of children with suspected or confirmed allergy,” says Shaw.

Certain types of allergy are more common in childhood, such as cow’s milk or egg allergy but, she says: “It is possible at any point in life to develop an allergy to something previously tolerated.”

Stephen Till, professor of allergy at King’s College London and a consultant allergist at Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospital believe, says that an allergic reaction occurs when your immune system inappropriately recognises something foreign as a bug, and mounts an attack against it. “You make antibodies which stick to your immune cells,” he says, “and when you get re-exposed at a later time to the allergen, those antibodies are already there and they trigger the immune cells to react.”

Allergies can own a huge impact on quality of life, and can, in rare cases such as that of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, be fatal.

There is no cure for a food allergy, although there has been recent promising work involving the use of probiotics and drug treatments. The first trial dedicated to treating adults with peanut allergy is just starting at Guy’s hospital.

“There is a lot of work going on in prevention to better understand the weaning process, and there’s a lot of buzz around desensitisation,” says Adam Fox, consultant paediatric allergist at Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospitals. Desensitisation is conducted by exposing the patient to minuscule, controlled amounts of the allergen. It’s an ongoing treatment though, rather than a cure. “When they stop having it regularly, they’re allergic again, it doesn’t change the underlying process.”

What we do know is that we are more allergic than ever.

What causes allergies on babies

“If you ponder in terms of decades, are we seeing more food allergy now than we were 20 or 30 years ago? I ponder we can confidently tell yes,” says Fox. “If you glance at the research from the s and early s there is beautiful excellent data that the quantity of peanut allergy trebled in a extremely short period.”

There has also been an increase in the number of people with severe reactions showing up in hospital emergency departments. In , 4, people in England were admitted to A&E for anaphylactic shock (although not every of these will own been below to food allergy).

This number has been climbing each year and it’s the same across Europe, the US and Australia, says Fox.

Why is there this rise in allergies? The truth is, nobody knows. Fox doesn’t believe it is below to better diagnosis. And it won’t be below to one single thing. There own been suggestions that it could be caused by reasons ranging from a lack of vitamin D to gut health and pollution. Weaning practices could also influence food allergy, he says. “If you introduce something much earlier into the diet, then you’re less likely to become allergic to it,” he says. A study found that the prevalence of peanut allergy in Jewish children in the UK, where the advice had been to avoid peanuts, was 10 times higher than that of children in Israel, where rates are low – there, babies are often given peanut snacks.

Should parents wean their babies earlier, and introduce foods such as peanuts?

Fox says it’s a “minefield”, but he advises sticking to the Department of Health and World Health Organization’s line that promotes exclusive breastfeeding for six months before introducing other foods, “and to not delay the introduction of allergenic foods such as peanut and egg beyond that, as this may increase the risk of allergy, particularly in kids with eczema”. (Fox says there is a direct relationship between a baby having eczema and the chances of them having a food allergy.)

The adults Till sees are those whose allergies started in childhood (people are more likely to grow out of milk or egg allergies, than peanut allergies, for instance) or those with allergy that started in adolescence or adulthood.

Again, it is not clear why you can tolerate something every your life and then develop an allergy to it. It could be to do with our changing diets in recent decades.

“The commonest new onset severe food allergy I see is to shellfish, and particularly prawns,” says Till. “It’s my own observation that the types of food we eat has changed fairly a lot in recent decades as a result of changes in the food industry and supply chain.” He says we are now eating foods such as tiger prawns that we probably didn’t eat so often in the past.

He has started to see people with an allergy to lupin flour, which comes from a legume in the same family as peanuts, which is more commonly used in continental Europe but has been increasingly used in the UK.

Sesame – thought to own been the cause of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse’s reaction – is another growing allergen, thanks to its inclusion in products that are now mainstream, such as hummus. One problem with sesame, says Till, is: “It often doesn’t show up extremely well in our tests, so it can be hard to gauge just how allergic someone is to it.”

Fox says it’s significant to stress that deaths from food allergy are still rare. “Food allergy is not the leading cause of death of people with food allergies – it’s still a extremely remote risk,” says Fox.

“But of course you don’t desire to be that one who is incredibly unlucky, so it causes grand anxiety. The genuine challenge of managing kids with food allergy is it’s really hard to predict which of the children are going to own the bad reactions, so everybody has to act as if they might be that one.”

Nasal congestion

Allergies are the most common cause of chronic nasal congestion (a stuffy nose) in children. Sometimes a child’s nose is congested to the point that he or she breathes through the mouth, especially while sleeping.

This may also cause the kid to not get a restful night’s sleep and then be tired the next day. If the congestion and mouth-breathing are left untreated, they can affect the growth of teeth and the bones of the face. Early treatment of the allergies causing the nasal congestion may prevent these problems.

Non-IgE Mediated Food Allergies

Most symptoms of non-IgE mediated food allergies involve the digestive tract. Symptoms may be vomiting and diarrhea. The symptoms can take longer to develop and may final longer than IgE mediated allergy symptoms.

Sometimes, a reaction to a food allergen occurs up 3 days after eating the food allergen.

When an allergic reaction occurs with this type of allergy, epinephrine is generally not needed. In general, the best way to treat these allergies is to stay away from the food that causes the reaction. Under are examples of conditions related to non-IgE mediated food allergies.

Not every children who react to a certain food own an allergy. They may own food intolerance. Examples are lactose intolerance, gluten intolerance, sulfite sensitivity or dye sensitivity. Staying away from these foods is the best way to avoid a reaction.

Your child’s doctor may propose other steps to prevent a reaction. If your kid has any food allergy symptoms, see your child’s doctor or allergist. Only a doctor can properly diagnose whether your kid has an IgE- or non-IgE food allergy. Both can be present in some children.

Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE)

Eosinophilic (ee-uh-sin-uh-fil-ik) esophagitis is an inflamed esophagus. The esophagus is a tube from the throat to the stomach. An allergy to a food can cause this condition.

With EoE, swallowing food can be hard and painful. Symptoms in infants and toddlers are irritability, problems with eating and poor weight acquire.

Older children may own reflux, vomiting, stomach pain, chest pain and a feeling love food is “stuck” in their throat. The symptoms can happen days or even weeks after eating a food allergen.

EoE is treated by special diets that remove the foods that are causing the condition. Medication may also be used to reduce inflammation.

Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome (FPIES)

FPIES is another type of food allergy. It most often affects young infants. Symptoms generally don’t appear for two or more hours. Symptoms include vomiting, which starts about 2 hours or later after eating the food causing the condition.

This condition can also cause diarrhea and failure to acquire weight or height. Once the baby stops eating the food causing the allergy, the symptoms go away. Rarely, severe vomiting and diarrhea can happen which can lead to dehydration and even shock. Shock occurs when the body is not getting enough blood flow. Emergency treatment for severe symptoms must happen correct away at a hospital. The foods most likely to cause a reaction are dairy, soy, rice, oat, barley, green beans, peas, sweet potatoes, squash and poultry.

Allergic Proctocolitis

Allergic proctocolitis is an allergy to formula or breast milk.

This condition inflames the lower part of the intestine. It affects infants in their first year of life and generally ends by age 1 year.

The symptoms include blood-streaked, watery and mucus-filled stools. Infants may also develop green stools, diarrhea, vomiting, anemia (low blood count) and fussiness. When properly diagnosed, symptoms resolve once the offending food(s) are removed from the diet.

Medical review December

No parent wants to see their kid suffer. Any kid can develop allergies, but they are more common in children from families with a history of allergies.

Since it’s impossible for parents to control absolutely everything that their kid is exposed to or eats, parents should instead focus on monitoring their kid for symptoms.

Early identification of childhood allergies will improve your child’s quality of life, reduce the number of missed school days and assist you avoid having to use ill time or vacation days to care for your kid. If your son or daughter is struggling, take control of the situation and consult an allergist today.

Early identification of childhood allergies will improve your child’s quality of life, reduce the number of missed school days and assist you avoid having to use ill time or vacation days to care for your child.

Common Allergy triggers in Children

  1. Indoors: pet or animal hair or fur, dust mites, mold
  2. Irritants: cigarette smoke, perfume, car exhaust
  3. Outdoors: tree pollen, plant pollen, insect bites or stings
  4. Foods: peanuts, eggs, milk and milk products

If you suspect your kid has an allergy, make an appointment to see an allergist.

Start a diary before the appointment and hold track of what symptoms your kid experiences and what you ponder causes them.

Allergies and school

Your child’s school should be informed of any allergies. If your kid has asthma or a severe allergy, give a copy of your child’s action plan to the school nurse or the istrative office. Also, discuss your child’s access to medication, including epinephrine (adrenaline), in case of an emergency.

  1. School pets: Furry animals in school may cause problems for allergic children. If your kid has allergy or asthma symptoms while at school including coughing, difficulty breathing, a rash, runny nose or sneezing, it could be the class pet.
  2. Asthma and physical education: Physical education and sports are a large part of the school day for numerous children.

    Having asthma does not mean eliminating these activities. Children with asthma and other allergic diseases should be capable to participate in any sport the kid chooses, provided the doctor’s advice is followed. Asthma symptoms during exercise may indicate poor control, so be certain that your kid is taking controller asthma medications on a regular basis. Often medication istered by an inhaler is prescribed before exercise to control symptoms.

  3. Dust irritation: At school, children with allergic problems may need to sit away from the blackboard to avoid irritation from chalk dust.

Do you suspect your kid has an allergy?

The symptoms could be a sign of a serious issue. Don’t delay: Discover an allergist today.

In July , Natasha Ednan-Laperouse collapsed on a flight from London to Nice, suffering a fatal allergic reaction to a baguette bought from Pret a Manger. At an inquest, the court heard how Natasha, who was 15 and had multiple severe food allergies, had carefully checked the ingredients on the packet. Sesame seeds – which were in the bread dough, the family later found out – were not listed.

What causes allergies on babies

“It was their fault,” her dad Nadim said in a statement. “I was stunned that a large food company love Pret could mislabel a sandwich and this could cause my daughter to die.”

This horrifying case highlights how careful people with allergies need to be, as do the food companies – not least because allergies own been growing in prevalence in the past few decades.

“Food allergy is on the rise and has been for some time,” says Holly Shaw, nurse adviser for Allergy UK, a charity that supports people with allergies.

Children are more likely to be affected – between 6 and 8% of children are thought to own food allergies, compared with less than 3% of adults – but numbers are growing in westernised countries, as well as places such as China.

“Certainly, as a charity, we’ve seen an increase in the number of calls we get, from adults and parents of children with suspected or confirmed allergy,” says Shaw. Certain types of allergy are more common in childhood, such as cow’s milk or egg allergy but, she says: “It is possible at any point in life to develop an allergy to something previously tolerated.”

Stephen Till, professor of allergy at King’s College London and a consultant allergist at Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospital believe, says that an allergic reaction occurs when your immune system inappropriately recognises something foreign as a bug, and mounts an attack against it.

“You make antibodies which stick to your immune cells,” he says, “and when you get re-exposed at a later time to the allergen, those antibodies are already there and they trigger the immune cells to react.”

Allergies can own a huge impact on quality of life, and can, in rare cases such as that of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, be fatal. There is no cure for a food allergy, although there has been recent promising work involving the use of probiotics and drug treatments. The first trial dedicated to treating adults with peanut allergy is just starting at Guy’s hospital.

“There is a lot of work going on in prevention to better understand the weaning process, and there’s a lot of buzz around desensitisation,” says Adam Fox, consultant paediatric allergist at Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospitals.

Desensitisation is conducted by exposing the patient to minuscule, controlled amounts of the allergen. It’s an ongoing treatment though, rather than a cure. “When they stop having it regularly, they’re allergic again, it doesn’t change the underlying process.”

What we do know is that we are more allergic than ever. “If you ponder in terms of decades, are we seeing more food allergy now than we were 20 or 30 years ago? I ponder we can confidently tell yes,” says Fox. “If you glance at the research from the s and early s there is beautiful excellent data that the quantity of peanut allergy trebled in a extremely short period.”

There has also been an increase in the number of people with severe reactions showing up in hospital emergency departments.

In , 4, people in England were admitted to A&E for anaphylactic shock (although not every of these will own been below to food allergy). This number has been climbing each year and it’s the same across Europe, the US and Australia, says Fox.

Why is there this rise in allergies? The truth is, nobody knows. Fox doesn’t believe it is below to better diagnosis. And it won’t be below to one single thing. There own been suggestions that it could be caused by reasons ranging from a lack of vitamin D to gut health and pollution.

Weaning practices could also influence food allergy, he says. “If you introduce something much earlier into the diet, then you’re less likely to become allergic to it,” he says. A study found that the prevalence of peanut allergy in Jewish children in the UK, where the advice had been to avoid peanuts, was 10 times higher than that of children in Israel, where rates are low – there, babies are often given peanut snacks.

Should parents wean their babies earlier, and introduce foods such as peanuts?

Fox says it’s a “minefield”, but he advises sticking to the Department of Health and World Health Organization’s line that promotes exclusive breastfeeding for six months before introducing other foods, “and to not delay the introduction of allergenic foods such as peanut and egg beyond that, as this may increase the risk of allergy, particularly in kids with eczema”. (Fox says there is a direct relationship between a baby having eczema and the chances of them having a food allergy.)

The adults Till sees are those whose allergies started in childhood (people are more likely to grow out of milk or egg allergies, than peanut allergies, for instance) or those with allergy that started in adolescence or adulthood.

What causes allergies on babies

Again, it is not clear why you can tolerate something every your life and then develop an allergy to it. It could be to do with our changing diets in recent decades.

“The commonest new onset severe food allergy I see is to shellfish, and particularly prawns,” says Till. “It’s my own observation that the types of food we eat has changed fairly a lot in recent decades as a result of changes in the food industry and supply chain.” He says we are now eating foods such as tiger prawns that we probably didn’t eat so often in the past.

He has started to see people with an allergy to lupin flour, which comes from a legume in the same family as peanuts, which is more commonly used in continental Europe but has been increasingly used in the UK.

Sesame – thought to own been the cause of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse’s reaction – is another growing allergen, thanks to its inclusion in products that are now mainstream, such as hummus. One problem with sesame, says Till, is: “It often doesn’t show up extremely well in our tests, so it can be hard to gauge just how allergic someone is to it.”

Fox says it’s significant to stress that deaths from food allergy are still rare. “Food allergy is not the leading cause of death of people with food allergies – it’s still a extremely remote risk,” says Fox. “But of course you don’t desire to be that one who is incredibly unlucky, so it causes grand anxiety.

The genuine challenge of managing kids with food allergy is it’s really hard to predict which of the children are going to own the bad reactions, so everybody has to act as if they might be that one.”


Food additives and children

Food contains additives for numerous reasons, such as to preserve it, to help make it safe to eat for longer, and to give colour or texture.

All food additives go through strict safety testing before they can be used. Food labelling must clearly show additives in the list of ingredients, including their name or «E» number and their function, such as «colour» or «preservative».

A few people own adverse reactions to some food additives, love sulphites, but reactions to ordinary foods, such as milk or soya, are much more common.

Read more about food colours and hyperactivity.

Who Gets Allergies?

The tendency to develop allergies is often hereditary, which means it can be passed below through genes from parents to their kids. But just because you, your partner, or one of your children might own allergies doesn’t mean that every of your kids will definitely get them. And someone generally doesn’t inherit a particular allergy, just the likelihood of having allergies.

Some kids own allergies even if no family member is allergic, and those who are allergic to one thing are likely to be allergic to others.

How Are Allergies Diagnosed?

Some allergies are fairly simple to identify but others are less obvious because they can be similar to other conditions.

If your kid has cold-like symptoms lasting longer than a week or two or develops a «cold» at the same time every year, talk with your doctor, who might diagnose an allergy and prescribe medicines, or may refer you to an allergist(a doctor who is an expert in the treatment of allergies) for allergy tests.

To discover the cause of an allergy, allergists generally do skin tests for the most common environmental and food allergens.

A skin test can work in one of two ways:

  • Insect allergy. For most kids, being stung by an insect means swelling, redness, and itching at the site of the bite. But for those with insect venom allergy, an insect sting can cause more serious symptoms.
  • stomachache
  • wheezing
  • stuffy nose
  • Keep kids who areallergic to mold away fromdamp areas, such as some basements, and hold bathrooms and other mold-prone areas clean and dry.
  • Dust mites are microscopic insects that live every around us and feed on the millions of dead skin cells that drop off our bodies every day.

    They’re the main allergic component of home dust. Dust mites are present year-round in most parts of the United States and live in bedding, upholstery, and carpets.

  • hives
  • Pollen is a major cause of allergies (a pollen allergy is often calledhay fever or rose fever). Trees, weeds, and grasses release these tiny particles into the air to fertilize other plants. Pollen allergies are seasonal, and the type of pollen someone is allergic to determines when symptoms happen.

    Pollen counts measure how much pollen is in the air and can assist people with allergies predict how bad their symptoms might be on any given day. Pollen counts are generally higher in the morning and on warm, dry, breezy days, and lowest when it’s chilly and wet.

  • A drop of a purified liquid form of the allergen is dropped onto the skin and the area is scratched with a little pricking device.
  • Cow’s milk(or cow’s milk protein). Between 2% and 3% of children younger than 3 years ancient are allergic to the proteins found in cow’s milk and cow’s milk-based formulas.

    Most formulas are cow’s milk-based. Milk proteins also can be a hidden ingredient in prepared foods. Numerous kids outgrow milk allergies.

  • If your kid has a pollen allergy, hold the windows closed when pollen season is at its peak, own your kid take a bath or shower and change clothes after being outdoors, and don’t let him or her mow the lawn.
  • itchy nose and/or throat
  • Eggs. Egg allergy can be a challenge for parents. Eggs are used in numerous of the foods kids eat — and in numerous cases they’re «hidden» ingredients. Kids tend to outgrow egg allergies as they get older.
  • Fish and shellfish. These allergies are some of the more common adult food allergies and ones that people generally don’t outgrow.

    Fish and shellfish are from diverse families of food, so having an allergy to one does not necessarily mean someone will be allergicto the other.

  • itchy, watery, or swollen eyes
  • Peanuts and tree nuts. Peanut allergies are on the rise, and as are allergies to tree nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, and cashews. Most people do not outgrow peanut or tree nut allergies.
  • Chemicals. Some cosmetics or laundry detergents can make people break out in hives. Generally, this is because someone has a reaction to the chemicals in these products, though it may not always be an allergic reaction.

    Dyes, household cleaners, and pesticides used on lawns or plants also can cause allergic reactions in some people.

  • Clean when your kid is not in the room.
  • throat tightness
  • Medicines. Antibiotics are the most common type of medicines that cause allergic reactions. Numerous other others, including over-the-counter medicines (those you can purchase without a prescription), also can cause allergic reactions.
  • trouble breathing
  • swelling
  • coughing
  • diarrhea
  • Wheat. Wheat proteins are found in numerous foods, and some are more obvious than others.

    Although wheat allergy is often confused with celiac disease, there is a difference. Celiac disease is a sensitivity to gluten (found in wheat, rye, and barley). But a wheat allergy can do more than make a person feel ill — love other food allergies, it also can cause a life-threatening reaction.

  • Keep family pets out of your child’s bedroom.
  • coughing
  • A little quantity of allergen is injected just under the skin. This test stings a little but isn’t painful.
  • Pet allergens are caused by pet dander (tiny flakes of shed skin) and animal saliva.

    When pets lick themselves, the saliva gets on their fur or feathers. As the saliva dries, protein particles become airborne and work their way into fabrics in the home. Pet urine also can cause allergies in the same way when it gets on airborne fur or skin, or when a pet pees in a spot that isn’t cleaned.

  • hoarseness
  • Use special covers to seal pillows and mattresses if your kid is allergic to dust mites.
  • sneezing
  • Don’t hang heavy drapes and get rid of other items that permit dust to build up.
  • vomiting
  • Cockroaches are also a major household allergen, especially in inner cities. Exposure to cockroach-infested buildings may be a major cause of the high rates of asthma in inner-city kids.
  • Remove carpets or rugs from your child’s room (hard floors don’t collect dust as much as carpets do).
  • Moldsare fungi that thrive both indoors and exterior in warm, moist environments.

    Outdoors, molds can be found in poor drainage areas, such as in piles of rotting leaves or compost piles. Indoors, molds thrive in dark, poorly ventilated places such as bathrooms and damp basements. Molds tend to be seasonal, but some can grow year-round, especially those indoors.

  • Soy. Soy allergy is more common among babies than older kids. Numerous infants who are allergic to cow’s milk are also allergic to the protein in soy formulas.

    Soy proteins are often a hidden ingredient in prepared foods.

  • a drop in blood pressure, causing lightheadedness or loss of consciousness

After about 15 minutes, if a lump surrounded by a reddish area (like a mosquito bite) appears at the site, the test is positive.

Blood tests may be done instead for kids with skin conditions, those who are on certain medicines, or those who are extremely sensitive to a specific allergen.

Even if testing shows an allergy, a kid also must own symptoms to be diagnosed with an allergy. For example, a toddler who has a positive test for dust mites and sneezes a lot while playing on the floor would be considered allergic to dust mites.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Allergies?

The type and severity of allergy symptoms vary from allergy to allergy and person to person.

Allergies may show up as itchy eyes, sneezing, a stuffy nose, throat tightness, trouble breathing, vomiting, and even fainting or passing out.

Kids with severe allergies (such as those to food, medicine, or insect venom) can be at risk for a sudden, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis can happen just seconds after being exposed to an allergen or not until a few hours later (if the reaction is from a food).

So doctors will desire anyone diagnosed with a life-threatening allergy to carry an epinephrine auto-injector in case of an emergency.

Epinephrine works quickly against serious allergy symptoms; for example, it reduces swelling and raises low blood pressure.

Common Airborne Allergens

Some of the most common things people are allergic to are airborne (carried through the air):

  1. Pollen is a major cause of allergies (a pollen allergy is often calledhay fever or rose fever). Trees, weeds, and grasses release these tiny particles into the air to fertilize other plants. Pollen allergies are seasonal, and the type of pollen someone is allergic to determines when symptoms happen.

    Pollen counts measure how much pollen is in the air and can assist people with allergies predict how bad their symptoms might be on any given day.

    Pollen counts are generally higher in the morning and on warm, dry, breezy days, and lowest when it’s chilly and wet.

  2. Pet allergens are caused by pet dander (tiny flakes of shed skin) and animal saliva. When pets lick themselves, the saliva gets on their fur or feathers. As the saliva dries, protein particles become airborne and work their way into fabrics in the home. Pet urine also can cause allergies in the same way when it gets on airborne fur or skin, or when a pet pees in a spot that isn’t cleaned.
  3. Moldsare fungi that thrive both indoors and exterior in warm, moist environments.

    Outdoors, molds can be found in poor drainage areas, such as in piles of rotting leaves or compost piles. Indoors, molds thrive in dark, poorly ventilated places such as bathrooms and damp basements. Molds tend to be seasonal, but some can grow year-round, especially those indoors.

  4. Dust mites are microscopic insects that live every around us and feed on the millions of dead skin cells that drop off our bodies every day. They’re the main allergic component of home dust. Dust mites are present year-round in most parts of the United States and live in bedding, upholstery, and carpets.
  5. Cockroaches are also a major household allergen, especially in inner cities.

    Exposure to cockroach-infested buildings may be a major cause of the high rates of asthma in inner-city kids.

Airborne Allergies

To assist kids avoid airborne allergens:

  1. Don’t hang heavy drapes and get rid of other items that permit dust to build up.
  2. If your kid has a pollen allergy, hold the windows closed when pollen season is at its peak, own your kid take a bath or shower and change clothes after being outdoors, and don’t let him or her mow the lawn.
  3. Use special covers to seal pillows and mattresses if your kid is allergic to dust mites.
  4. Clean when your kid is not in the room.
  5. Keep family pets out of your child’s bedroom.
  6. Remove carpets or rugs from your child’s room (hard floors don’t collect dust as much as carpets do).
  7. Keep kids who areallergic to mold away fromdamp areas, such as some basements, and hold bathrooms and other mold-prone areas clean and dry.

Other Common Allergens

  1. Insect allergy. For most kids, being stung by an insect means swelling, redness, and itching at the site of the bite.

    But for those with insect venom allergy, an insect sting can cause more serious symptoms.

  2. Medicines. Antibiotics are the most common type of medicines that cause allergic reactions. Numerous other others, including over-the-counter medicines (those you can purchase without a prescription), also can cause allergic reactions.
  3. Chemicals. Some cosmetics or laundry detergents can make people break out in hives. Generally, this is because someone has a reaction to the chemicals in these products, though it may not always be an allergic reaction. Dyes, household cleaners, and pesticides used on lawns or plants also can cause allergic reactions in some people.

Some kids also own what are called cross-reactions.

For example, kids who are allergic to birch pollen might own symptoms when they eat an apple because that apple is made up of a protein similar to one in the pollen. And for reasons that aren’t clear, people with a latex allergy (found in latex gloves and some kinds of hospital equipment) are more likely to be allergic to foods likekiwi, chestnuts, avocados, and bananas.

Further information

Sheet final reviewed: 24 July
Next review due: 24 July

What Are Allergies?

Allergies are abnormal immune system reactions to things that are typically harmless to most people. When a person is allergic to something, the immune system mistakenly believes that this substance is harming the body.

Substances that cause allergic reactions — such as some foods, dust, plant pollen, or medicines — are known as allergens.

Allergies are a major cause of illness in the United States.

Up to 50 million Americans, including millions of kids, own some type of allergy.

What causes allergies on babies

In fact, allergies cause about 2 million missed school days each year.

How Do Allergies Happen?

An allergy happens when the immune system& overreacts to an allergen, treating it as an invader and trying to fight it off. This causes symptoms that can range from annoying to serious or even life-threatening.

In an attempt to protect the body, the immune system makes antibodies called immunoglobulin E (IgE). These antibodies then cause certain cells to release chemicals (including histamine) into the bloodstream to defend against the allergen «invader.»

It’s the release of these chemicals that causes allergic reactions. Reactions can affect the eyes, nose, throat, lungs, skin, and gastrointestinal tract.

Future exposure to that same allergen will trigger this allergic response again.

Some allergies are seasonal and happen only at certain times of the year (like when pollen counts are high); others can happen anytime someone comes in contact with an allergen. So, when a person with a food allergy eats that specific food or someone who’s allergic to dust mites is exposed to them, they will own an allergic reaction.

How Are Allergies Treated?

There’s no cure for allergies, but symptoms can be managed.

The best way to manage with them is to avoid the allergens. That means that parents must educate their kids early and often, not only about the allergy itself, but also about the reactions they can own if they consume or come into contact with the allergen.

Telling every caregivers (childcare staff, teachers, family members, parents of your child’s friends, etc.) about your child’s allergy is also important.

If avoiding environmental allergens isn’t possible or doesn’t assist, doctors might prescribe medicines, including antihistamines, eye drops, and nasal sprays.

(Many of these also are available without a prescription.)

In some cases, doctors recommend allergy shots(immunotherapy) to assist desensitize a person to an allergen. But allergy shots are only helpful for allergens such as dust, mold, pollens, animals, and insect stings. They’re not used for food allergies.

Common Food Allergens

Up to 2 million, or 8%, of kids in the United States are affected by food allergies. Eight foods account for most of those: cow’s milk, eggs, fish and shellfish, peanuts and tree nuts, soy, and wheat.

  1. Eggs. Egg allergy can be a challenge for parents.

    Eggs are used in numerous of the foods kids eat — and in numerous cases they’re «hidden» ingredients. Kids tend to outgrow egg allergies as they get older.

  2. Soy. Soy allergy is more common among babies than older kids. Numerous infants who are allergic to cow’s milk are also allergic to the protein in soy formulas.

    What causes allergies on babies

    Soy proteins are often a hidden ingredient in prepared foods.

  3. Peanuts and tree nuts. Peanut allergies are on the rise, and as are allergies to tree nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, and cashews. Most people do not outgrow peanut or tree nut allergies.
  4. Fish and shellfish. These allergies are some of the more common adult food allergies and ones that people generally don’t outgrow. Fish and shellfish are from diverse families of food, so having an allergy to one does not necessarily mean someone will be allergicto the other.
  5. Cow’s milk(or cow’s milk protein). Between 2% and 3% of children younger than 3 years ancient are allergic to the proteins found in cow’s milk and cow’s milk-based formulas.

    Most formulas are cow’s milk-based. Milk proteins also can be a hidden ingredient in prepared foods. Numerous kids outgrow milk allergies.

  6. Wheat. Wheat proteins are found in numerous foods, and some are more obvious than others. Although wheat allergy is often confused with celiac disease, there is a difference. Celiac disease is a sensitivity to gluten (found in wheat, rye, and barley).

    What causes allergies on babies

    But a wheat allergy can do more than make a person feel ill — love other food allergies, it also can cause a life-threatening reaction.

Airborne Allergy Symptoms

Airborne allergens can cause something known as allergic rhinitis, which generally develops by 10 years of age, reaches its peak in the teens or early twenties, and often disappears between the ages of 40 and

Symptoms can include:

  1. itchy nose and/or throat
  2. stuffy nose
  3. sneezing
  4. coughing

When symptoms also include itchy, watery, and/or red eyes, this is called allergic conjunctivitis.

(Dark circles that sometimes show up around the eyes are called allergic «shiners.»)

Food, Medicines, or Insect Allergy Symptoms

  1. throat tightness
  2. swelling
  3. hives
  4. vomiting
  5. coughing
  6. trouble breathing
  7. itchy, watery, or swollen eyes
  8. wheezing
  9. hoarseness
  10. diarrhea
  11. stomachache
  12. a drop in blood pressure, causing lightheadedness or loss of consciousness

Allergic reactions can vary.

Sometimes, a person can own a mild reaction that affects only one body system, love hives on the skin. Other times, the reaction can be more serious and involve more than one part of the body. A mild reaction in the past does not mean that future reactions will be mild.

What Things Cause Allergies?

Food Allergies

Kids with food allergies must completely avoid products made with their allergens. This can be tough as allergens are found in numerous unexpected foods and products.

Always read labels to see if a packaged food contains your child’s allergen.

Manufacturers of foods sold in the United States must state in understandable language whether foods contain any of the top eight most common allergens. This label requirement makes things a little easier. But it’s significant to remember that «safe» foods could become unsafe if food companies change ingredients, processes, or production locations.

Cross-contamination means that the allergen is not one of the ingredients in a product, but might own come into contact with it during production or packaging.

Companies are not required to label for cross-contamination risk, though some voluntarily do so. You may see statements such as «May contain…,» «Processed in a facility that also processes…,» or «Manufactured on equipment also used for ….»

Because products without such statements also might be cross-contaminated and the company did not label for it, it’s always best to contact the company to see if the product could contain your child’s allergen. Glance for this information on the company’s website or email a company representative.

Cross-contamination also can happen at home or in restaurants when kitchen surfaces or utensils are used for diverse foods.

What is a Food Allergy?

There Are Diverse Types of Allergic Reactions to Foods

After about 15 minutes, if a lump surrounded by a reddish area (like a mosquito bite) appears at the site, the test is positive.

Blood tests may be done instead for kids with skin conditions, those who are on certain medicines, or those who are extremely sensitive to a specific allergen.

Even if testing shows an allergy, a kid also must own symptoms to be diagnosed with an allergy. For example, a toddler who has a positive test for dust mites and sneezes a lot while playing on the floor would be considered allergic to dust mites.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Allergies?

The type and severity of allergy symptoms vary from allergy to allergy and person to person.

Allergies may show up as itchy eyes, sneezing, a stuffy nose, throat tightness, trouble breathing, vomiting, and even fainting or passing out.

Kids with severe allergies (such as those to food, medicine, or insect venom) can be at risk for a sudden, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis can happen just seconds after being exposed to an allergen or not until a few hours later (if the reaction is from a food).

So doctors will desire anyone diagnosed with a life-threatening allergy to carry an epinephrine auto-injector in case of an emergency.

Epinephrine works quickly against serious allergy symptoms; for example, it reduces swelling and raises low blood pressure.

Common Airborne Allergens

Some of the most common things people are allergic to are airborne (carried through the air):

  1. Pollen is a major cause of allergies (a pollen allergy is often calledhay fever or rose fever). Trees, weeds, and grasses release these tiny particles into the air to fertilize other plants. Pollen allergies are seasonal, and the type of pollen someone is allergic to determines when symptoms happen.

    Pollen counts measure how much pollen is in the air and can assist people with allergies predict how bad their symptoms might be on any given day.

    Pollen counts are generally higher in the morning and on warm, dry, breezy days, and lowest when it’s chilly and wet.

  2. Pet allergens are caused by pet dander (tiny flakes of shed skin) and animal saliva. When pets lick themselves, the saliva gets on their fur or feathers. As the saliva dries, protein particles become airborne and work their way into fabrics in the home. Pet urine also can cause allergies in the same way when it gets on airborne fur or skin, or when a pet pees in a spot that isn’t cleaned.
  3. Moldsare fungi that thrive both indoors and exterior in warm, moist environments. Outdoors, molds can be found in poor drainage areas, such as in piles of rotting leaves or compost piles.

    Indoors, molds thrive in dark, poorly ventilated places such as bathrooms and damp basements. Molds tend to be seasonal, but some can grow year-round, especially those indoors.

  4. Dust mites are microscopic insects that live every around us and feed on the millions of dead skin cells that drop off our bodies every day. They’re the main allergic component of home dust. Dust mites are present year-round in most parts of the United States and live in bedding, upholstery, and carpets.
  5. Cockroaches are also a major household allergen, especially in inner cities. Exposure to cockroach-infested buildings may be a major cause of the high rates of asthma in inner-city kids.

Airborne Allergies

To assist kids avoid airborne allergens:

  1. Don’t hang heavy drapes and get rid of other items that permit dust to build up.
  2. If your kid has a pollen allergy, hold the windows closed when pollen season is at its peak, own your kid take a bath or shower and change clothes after being outdoors, and don’t let him or her mow the lawn.
  3. Use special covers to seal pillows and mattresses if your kid is allergic to dust mites.
  4. Clean when your kid is not in the room.
  5. Keep family pets out of your child’s bedroom.
  6. Remove carpets or rugs from your child’s room (hard floors don’t collect dust as much as carpets do).
  7. Keep kids who areallergic to mold away fromdamp areas, such as some basements, and hold bathrooms and other mold-prone areas clean and dry.

Other Common Allergens

  1. Insect allergy. For most kids, being stung by an insect means swelling, redness, and itching at the site of the bite.

    But for those with insect venom allergy, an insect sting can cause more serious symptoms.

  2. Medicines. Antibiotics are the most common type of medicines that cause allergic reactions. Numerous other others, including over-the-counter medicines (those you can purchase without a prescription), also can cause allergic reactions.
  3. Chemicals. Some cosmetics or laundry detergents can make people break out in hives. Generally, this is because someone has a reaction to the chemicals in these products, though it may not always be an allergic reaction. Dyes, household cleaners, and pesticides used on lawns or plants also can cause allergic reactions in some people.

Some kids also own what are called cross-reactions.

For example, kids who are allergic to birch pollen might own symptoms when they eat an apple because that apple is made up of a protein similar to one in the pollen. And for reasons that aren’t clear, people with a latex allergy (found in latex gloves and some kinds of hospital equipment) are more likely to be allergic to foods likekiwi, chestnuts, avocados, and bananas.

Further information

Sheet final reviewed: 24 July
Next review due: 24 July

What Are Allergies?

Allergies are abnormal immune system reactions to things that are typically harmless to most people.

When a person is allergic to something, the immune system mistakenly believes that this substance is harming the body.

Substances that cause allergic reactions — such as some foods, dust, plant pollen, or medicines — are known as allergens.

Allergies are a major cause of illness in the United States. Up to 50 million Americans, including millions of kids, own some type of allergy. In fact, allergies cause about 2 million missed school days each year.

How Do Allergies Happen?

An allergy happens when the immune system& overreacts to an allergen, treating it as an invader and trying to fight it off. This causes symptoms that can range from annoying to serious or even life-threatening.

In an attempt to protect the body, the immune system makes antibodies called immunoglobulin E (IgE).

These antibodies then cause certain cells to release chemicals (including histamine) into the bloodstream to defend against the allergen «invader.»

It’s the release of these chemicals that causes allergic reactions. Reactions can affect the eyes, nose, throat, lungs, skin, and gastrointestinal tract. Future exposure to that same allergen will trigger this allergic response again.

Some allergies are seasonal and happen only at certain times of the year (like when pollen counts are high); others can happen anytime someone comes in contact with an allergen. So, when a person with a food allergy eats that specific food or someone who’s allergic to dust mites is exposed to them, they will own an allergic reaction.

How Are Allergies Treated?

There’s no cure for allergies, but symptoms can be managed.

The best way to manage with them is to avoid the allergens. That means that parents must educate their kids early and often, not only about the allergy itself, but also about the reactions they can own if they consume or come into contact with the allergen.

Telling every caregivers (childcare staff, teachers, family members, parents of your child’s friends, etc.) about your child’s allergy is also important.

If avoiding environmental allergens isn’t possible or doesn’t assist, doctors might prescribe medicines, including antihistamines, eye drops, and nasal sprays.

(Many of these also are available without a prescription.)

In some cases, doctors recommend allergy shots(immunotherapy) to assist desensitize a person to an allergen. But allergy shots are only helpful for allergens such as dust, mold, pollens, animals, and insect stings. They’re not used for food allergies.

Common Food Allergens

Up to 2 million, or 8%, of kids in the United States are affected by food allergies. Eight foods account for most of those: cow’s milk, eggs, fish and shellfish, peanuts and tree nuts, soy, and wheat.

  1. Eggs. Egg allergy can be a challenge for parents.

    Eggs are used in numerous of the foods kids eat — and in numerous cases they’re «hidden» ingredients. Kids tend to outgrow egg allergies as they get older.

  2. Soy. Soy allergy is more common among babies than older kids. Numerous infants who are allergic to cow’s milk are also allergic to the protein in soy formulas. Soy proteins are often a hidden ingredient in prepared foods.
  3. Peanuts and tree nuts. Peanut allergies are on the rise, and as are allergies to tree nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, and cashews. Most people do not outgrow peanut or tree nut allergies.
  4. Fish and shellfish. These allergies are some of the more common adult food allergies and ones that people generally don’t outgrow.

    Fish and shellfish are from diverse families of food, so having an allergy to one does not necessarily mean someone will be allergicto the other.

  5. Cow’s milk(or cow’s milk protein). Between 2% and 3% of children younger than 3 years ancient are allergic to the proteins found in cow’s milk and cow’s milk-based formulas. Most formulas are cow’s milk-based. Milk proteins also can be a hidden ingredient in prepared foods.

    Numerous kids outgrow milk allergies.

  6. Wheat. Wheat proteins are found in numerous foods, and some are more obvious than others. Although wheat allergy is often confused with celiac disease, there is a difference. Celiac disease is a sensitivity to gluten (found in wheat, rye, and barley). But a wheat allergy can do more than make a person feel ill — love other food allergies, it also can cause a life-threatening reaction.

Airborne Allergy Symptoms

Airborne allergens can cause something known as allergic rhinitis, which generally develops by 10 years of age, reaches its peak in the teens or early twenties, and often disappears between the ages of 40 and

Symptoms can include:

  1. itchy nose and/or throat
  2. stuffy nose
  3. sneezing
  4. coughing

When symptoms also include itchy, watery, and/or red eyes, this is called allergic conjunctivitis.

(Dark circles that sometimes show up around the eyes are called allergic «shiners.»)

Food, Medicines, or Insect Allergy Symptoms

  1. throat tightness
  2. swelling
  3. hives
  4. vomiting
  5. coughing
  6. trouble breathing
  7. itchy, watery, or swollen eyes
  8. wheezing
  9. hoarseness
  10. diarrhea
  11. stomachache
  12. a drop in blood pressure, causing lightheadedness or loss of consciousness

Allergic reactions can vary. Sometimes, a person can own a mild reaction that affects only one body system, love hives on the skin.

Other times, the reaction can be more serious and involve more than one part of the body. A mild reaction in the past does not mean that future reactions will be mild.

What Things Cause Allergies?

Food Allergies

Kids with food allergies must completely avoid products made with their allergens. This can be tough as allergens are found in numerous unexpected foods and products.

Always read labels to see if a packaged food contains your child’s allergen. Manufacturers of foods sold in the United States must state in understandable language whether foods contain any of the top eight most common allergens. This label requirement makes things a little easier.

But it’s significant to remember that «safe» foods could become unsafe if food companies change ingredients, processes, or production locations.

Cross-contamination means that the allergen is not one of the ingredients in a product, but might own come into contact with it during production or packaging. Companies are not required to label for cross-contamination risk, though some voluntarily do so. You may see statements such as «May contain…,» «Processed in a facility that also processes…,» or «Manufactured on equipment also used for ….»

Because products without such statements also might be cross-contaminated and the company did not label for it, it’s always best to contact the company to see if the product could contain your child’s allergen.

Glance for this information on the company’s website or email a company representative.

Cross-contamination also can happen at home or in restaurants when kitchen surfaces or utensils are used for diverse foods.

What is a Food Allergy? There Are Diverse Types of Allergic Reactions to Foods


How will I know if my kid has a food allergy?

An allergic reaction can consist of 1 or more of the following:

  1. a cough
  2. itchy throat and tongue
  3. itchy skin or rash
  4. runny or blocked nose
  5. diarrhoea or vomiting
  6. wheezing and shortness of breath
  7. swollen lips and throat
  8. sore, red and itchy eyes

In a few cases, foods can cause a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) that can be life-threatening.

Get medical advice if you ponder your kid is having an allergic reaction to a specific food.

Don’t be tempted to experiment by cutting out a major food, such as milk, because this could lead to your kid not getting the nutrients they need. Talk to your health visitor or GP, who may refer you to a registered dietitian.


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