Food Allergies in Children

Author: FITivate | Published date: August 13, 2021 | Category: Medical
food allergy children, food allergy on baby, food allergy symptoms
food allergy children, food allergy on baby, food allergy symptoms

What is food allergy?

Abnormal response of the body to a certain food, resulting in clinical responses ranging from mild itchy rash to severe allergic response that can potentially be deadly.

How common is it?

  • They are most common in children up to 3 years of age
  • 6% of children below 1 year old has food allergy
  • 3-4% by the time they reach 5 years old

What are the common type of food that can cause allergy?

90% of all food allergies are caused by the following eight foods

Milk ( common ), Egg ( common ), Wheat, Soy, Tree nuts, Peanuts ( common ), Fish, Shellfish.

Most severe reactions usually comes from

Peanuts, Tree nuts, Fish, Shellfish.

Is food allergy life long?

  • 80% will out grow milk allergies
  • 66% will out grow egg allergies
  • 80% will outgrow soy or wheat allergies

Unfortunately, allergies to peanuts, tree nuts , fish and shellfish may be lifelong.

Food Allergy Symptoms

Different people react differently and in varying severity

  • Eyes: Itchy, tearing, swelling
  • Mouth and Throat: Lip swelling, throat, itchiness, and tightness, hoarseness of voice.
  • Airway: Coughing, Wheezing
  • Skin: eczema, hives
  • Others: Vomiting, Diarrhea

In young infants

  • Allergies ( usually to milk ): may present itself as abdominal pain, blood in stool or poor growth.

Diagnosis of food allergy

  • Skin prick test: This test involves placing liquid extracts of food allergens forearm or back, pricking the skin so as to see if reddish raised spots (called wheals) form within 15 minutes.
  • Blood Test : to check the blood for IgE antibodies to specific foods
  • Food challenge test : these are often done at a later stage to see if the child has outgrown the food allergy

How to prevent or delay onset of food allergy

  • If possible, breastfeed infant for 6 months
  • Do not give solid food until after 6 months
  • Avoid cow’s milk, soy, wheat, eggs, peanuts and fish before 6 months

Treatment of food allergy

  1. Avoidance of food - ( please read product details/inserts carefully )
  2. If accidentally taken - treat with medications
  3. Emergency and if known severe reactions: Epipen ( Epinephrine )
  4. Mild : Antihistamine, steroids
  5. Young infants who are allergic to cow’s milk can switch to breast milk, hypoallergenic formula or soy milk.

By : Dr Chen Yiming

Family Physician, MBBS (Singapore), GDFM (NUS), GDFP Dermatology (NUS)



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