Food Allergies in Children

Author: FITivate | Published date: August 13, 2021 | Category: Medical
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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