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Food Allergies


When Marcy prepared a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for her son Ben's lunch that morning, she did it because they were running late for day care and it was the quickest thing she could put together. But shortly after Ben began eating his lunch, his child-care provider noticed he seemed to be trying to scratch an itch in his mouth. After he vomited and began wheezing, the care provider sought medical treatment for Ben, who was later diagnosed with a food allergy, in this case to peanuts.

Along with milk, eggs, wheat, soy, and shellfish, peanuts are among the most common foods that cause allergies. For some kids, food allergies can cause only minor discomfort, like a little tingling in the mouth. But for others they can be severe, causing difficulty breathing, for example.

Learning how to recognize an allergic reaction will help you get your child the medical care needed if a reaction occurs. If your child has already been diagnosed with a food allergy, it's important to know:
• how to accommodate your child's dietary needs
• what emergency preparations to make in case your child has an allergic reaction

What Is a Food Allergy?
With a food allergy, the body reacts as though that particular food product is harmful. As a result, the body's immune system (which fights infection and disease) creates antibodies to fight the food allergen, the substance in the food that triggers the allergy. The next time a person comes in contact with that food by touching or eating it or inhaling its particles, the body releases chemicals, including one called histamine, to "protect" itself. These chemicals trigger allergic symptoms that can affect the respiratory system, gastrointestinal tract, skin, or cardiovascular system. These symptoms might include a runny nose, an itchy skin rash, a tingling in the tongue, lips, or throat, swelling, abdominal pain, or wheezing.
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Categories: Children's Health, Health & Wellness,

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