News & Reviews

6 Signs Your Child Has A Food Allergy

January 22, 2021 1:40 pm

It seems more children are becoming allergic to certain foods, although the reasons for this situation are largely unknown. Unfortunately, parents won’t know their child is allergic to a certain food until they have a reaction, and that can be quite frightening. While many reactions are mild, others can be severe, so parents should be aware of these 6 signs your child has a food allergy.

Common Foods That Cause Allergies

A food allergy occurs when a child’s immune system overreacts and creates antibodies to fight away what it perceives as dangerous, like a virus. This immune reaction is what causes the allergic symptoms.

There is a group of foods that seems to cause most allergic reactions in children. They include milk and eggs, peanuts, tree nuts like walnuts, almonds, pistachios and cashews, sesame, fish, shellfish, wheat, and soy. In fact, peanut allergies alone tripled from 1997 to 2016 in children.

5 Signs To Help Parents Identify Food Allergies

common food allergens on wooden background with the words "food allergy"

There are common signs of food allergies in children.

The Timing

Most children will have a reaction to something they consumed within 30 to 60 minutes. Rarely does it go beyond the hour.

Skin Reactions

A rash like hives is a common symptom, and it will appear with red itchy bumps. They may itch around the mouth and ears.

Intestinal Tract Upset

These symptoms can include abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting.

Breathing Issues

This is obviously a frightening symptom. Wheezing and shortness of breath are common responses to an allergy. The lips, tongue, and face may become swollen. One other troublesome symptom is a change in your child’s voice.

Cold Like Symptoms

Cold like symptoms can include sudden coughing, sneezing, and congestion with a runny nose shortly after eating one of the suspicious foods.

Anaphylaxis

Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that needs immediate medical treatment.

It includes the following symptoms:

  • Chest pain
  • Fainting
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Turning blue
  • Weak pulse
  • Confusion

When To Seek Treatment

Mild allergic reactions can be treated at home with Benadryl or Zyrtec. Once your child has had an allergic reaction, it is best to have epinephrine available and know how to use it.

Contact The Pediatric Lung and Allergy Center (PLAC) at (703) 289-1410 for more information and testing if your child has had an allergic reaction to something they consumed.