In France, 8% of children suffer from food allergies. A higher figure than a few years ago, and which could well increase even more in the future. Children are also more exposed than adults to this type of allergies. For parents, it’s a real puzzle: how do you know if a child is allergic to a food? What if this is the case? How to avoid it? Questions about children’s food allergies are multiplying, and it’s time to give them some answers!
Food allergy: what is it?
The foods we eat are made up of many proteins. Each time we ingest a substance, the body sifts through all these proteins to determine which ones are suitable for consumption and which ones should be eradicated. However, it sometimes happens that the body makes mistakes: thus, dietary proteins can be identified as harmful by the body. This will then trigger an immune defense process: this is the allergic reaction. This can occur immediately after food intake, and up to 2 days later.
How to detect a food allergy?
Several symptoms can highlight a food allergy, both in a child and in an adult:
- Tingling in the tongue and mouth;
- Skin reactions ranging from eczema patches to hives attack;
- Respiratory disorders, especially asthma attacks …
To be sure, you can consult an allergist doctor. The latter has a whole battery of tests (blood, skin …) to determine precisely if there is an allergy, and to what food.
What are the most allergenic foods?
Some foods are more allergenic than others. At the top of the list, we most often find:
- Eggs ;
- Seafood ;
- Cow’s milk;
- Peanuts ;
- Gluten …
Note that in case of allergic conditions, the child is more likely to develop a food allergy. That is, if the parents are allergic themselves, their child is more likely to be allergic in turn.
Source: The Parisian
How to avoid food allergies?
To prevent your child from developing food allergies as he grows up, there are several good habits you can adopt from birth. In particular, it is recommended to avoid smoking in the presence of a child. Smoking, even passive, sensitizes the immune system and increases the risk of various allergies. The period of food diversification must also be scrupulously respected: if you skip the steps and introduce allergenic foods too early in a baby’s diet, the risk of allergy is very present. Wait for the right time to give cereals (even organic) to your child !
What to do in case of a food allergy?
If despite your precautions, your child has developed a food allergy, the best solution is simply to avoid it. Today, there are enough substitutes to be able to give a balanced diet free of allergens to a child. For example, you can replace cow’s milk yoghurts with vegetable milk or sheep’s milk yogurts; wheat flour cookies by organic baby cookies gluten-free (mini rice cakes for example), etc. Also, get in the habit of reading food labels carefully: the list of the most common allergens is always indicated there.