Food allergies are reactions of our immune system to a protein in food that is normally considered harmless to the body so the immune system reacts by causing symptoms. This is an allergic reaction. Foods that cause allergic reactions are allergens.
Most serious food allergies start in infancy and early childhood. There are caused by a relatively small number of different foods. Milk and egg allergy are the most common and tend to disappear during childhood.
Food allergies are much more common amongst children who come from families where other members suffer from allergy. Babies who suffer from eczema are particularly at risk of having food allergies. Food allergies can appear at any age, but are most common in children and we estimate that it is about 10% of them that have food allergies.
There are two types of allergy :
- the first one is the classical one when the reactions appear rapidly.
- There is another type called delayed allergic reactions that do involve the immune system, but unlike the first type, delayed allergies involve parts of the immune system that take much longer to respond. The end result means it’s difficult to pinpoint a particular food as the problem and sufferers may continue to eat and drink it. Delayed allergies in infants may cause chronic symptoms such as eczema, reflux, colic, poor growth, diarrhoea or even constipation. The symptoms only get better when the food is removed from the diet.
For the one case to the other, the best treatment is to completely avoid the problem food.
The most common food allergies in babies and young children are milk, eggs, peanuts and nuts. Today, we observe in the baby from 6 months, some form of allergy but is actually a gluten intolerance that occurs most of the time after we introduce gluten in the diet.
If you want to know more about gluten, I invite you to read our article : « Things you should know about Gluten ».
How to know if my child has a food allergy ?
There are symptoms that you could easily detect in case your child suffers from an allergy. If your child develops an itchy rash around the mouth but also if his nose is running or he presents atopic eczema he is maybe allergic to something he just eats. But there are others symptoms such as nausea and vomiting that indicate that something goes wrong.
We suggest you to consult your doctor first before taking a decision, he is the only one who can diagnosed if your child has a food allergy and who is able to tell you what to do.