Dealing with Baby Allergies – What Happens During an Attack, Foods to Watch Out For & What to Do When a Child Has a Reaction
A lot of parents have probably gone through this scenario at least once when feeding your baby you serve an innocent-looking plate of food, your young one eagerly gobbles it up. A few minutes later, you hear crying and you notice bright red rashes starting to pop up on your child’s skin. An allergy attack has just happened. Allergies are arguably one of the biggest health concerns of parents when it comes to their babies. And they will try to prevent it from happening to the point of limiting baby’s food options. But, how do you properly deal with such a situation? We at BabyInsider have come up with this guide to help you.
What happens during an allergic attack?
In order to better deal with allergies, you first need to know what happens in your child’s body during such attacks.
Normally, the body recognizes food as an essential material and lets it into the digestive tract to be processed. However, there are some instances when this does not occur. Scientists say this happens because an antibody produced by the body’s immune system, called Immunoglobulin E (IgE) incorrectly tags food as an “invader”. When this happens, the immune system releases chemicals called histamines to attack and dispose of such “invaders”.
The reaction of the IgE antibody to food triggers a variety of allergic symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms are:
- Skin rashes
- Face, lip, or tongue swelling
- Coughing or wheezing
- Hives or welts
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea
In more severe allergic attacks, your baby might experience the difficulty of breathing, which might lead to loss of consciousness. This, in turn, can be fatal if not remedied immediately.
What foods can trigger allergic reactions in your baby?
So, what are the foods that you need to watch out for? Here, it is important to note that any food can cause allergy to your child. However, there are eight food groups that have been documented to cause almost 90% of food-related allergies. These are:
- Tree nuts (walnut, cashew, Brazil nut, etc.)
Do note that removing these from your child’s food option and introducing it only after his first birthday would not stave off the allergy. This one is a particularly widespread parenting myth that has since been disproven. Keep in mind that you won’t know whether your child is allergic to a particular food unless he takes his first bite of that food and shows some symptoms.
It is also worth mentioning that, while the tendency to have allergies can be transmitted from you to your child, an allergy for a specific food item is not necessarily transferred. For instance, if you have an allergy towards peanuts, you can expect your child to have an allergy of some sort, but not necessarily to peanuts. Note that your baby’s chances to develop allergies increase if both you and your spouse have allergies.
What to do if you think your child has an allergy?
Once you spot the telltale signs of an allergic reaction minutes after eating, the first thing that you need to do is take out the food item you suspect to be causing the allergy from the menu. Immediately consult a pediatric allergist for the necessary tests. Do note that, depending on the tests to be conducted, the symptoms might not be of a food allergy, but of food intolerance (a topic we will tackle in a later post).
Once your child is determined to have a particular food allergy then be prepared. Often, you will be advised by the doctor to seek alternatives to the particular food that he is allergic in. For instance, you might have to switch to a hypoallergenic milk if he is allergic to regular formulas. This can make grocery trips especially challenging and around 40$ longer as not all stores carry particular food items suited for an allergic child.
Having the proper medication on hand is also a must, as you don’t know when a reaction can happen again. In most cases, this is usually anti-histamine tablets to make the symptoms subside. However, for severe cases, you will sometimes be prescribed with an epinephrine auto –injector, which delivers a specific dose of the medication.
Will your child outgrow his allergy?
With all the stuff you and your child have to deal with when it comes to allergies, it is understandable if you want to know if he will be able to come out of it as he grows. Luckily for kids who are allergic to soy and wheat, they can outgrow it by the time they reach schooling age. A few recent studies have also showed that this might also be the case with milk and egg allergies, though they take a lot longer to go away, occurring at around age 8 years old to 10.
However, in the case of peanut, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish allergies, these might be lifelong. Only 20 percent of children are able to outgrow peanut allergies. Hence, you will have to make important lifestyle changes to help your child cope with these.