Food Allergies in Children

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If your child consistently gets an upset stomach, hives, or swelling after eating a certain food, they may have a food allergy. When your child is allergic to a particular food (called an allergen), their immune system reacts to protein in the food as if it were harmful. This immune system reaction causes the actual allergy symptoms. 

Food allergy reactions vary from very mild to life-threatening. A severe allergic reaction affecting multiple areas of the body is called anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis requires immediate emergency medical attention because it can be fatal.

Does Your Child Have a Food Allergy?

Allergic reactions usually happen within two hours after eating. Symptoms of food allergies may include:

  • Skin:
    • Hives
    • Rashes or itchiness
    • Swelling
  • Airway:
    • Throat tightness
    • Sneezing
    • Runny nose or congestion
    • Wheezing or shortness of breath
  • Stomach:
    • Pain
    • Nausea
    • Diarrhea
    • Vomiting
  • Circulation:
    • Pale skin
    • Dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting

Your child may have several symptoms at once. If the symptoms are severe or progress quickly, don’t hesitate to contact emergency services.

Typical Food Allergens

These foods are the most common triggers of food allergies in children:

  • Cow’s milk
  • Eggs
  • Peanuts
  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Wheat
  • Soy
  • Tree nuts (such as walnuts, pistachios, pecans, cashews)

Diagnosing & Treating Your Child’s Food Allergies

To diagnose your child’s possible allergies, we may conduct allergy assessments. These assessments may include:

  • Skin test
  • Blood test
  • Food challenges