A food allergy occurs when the immune system mistakenly targets a harmless food protein (an allergen) as a threat and attacks, releasing histamine and other chemicals that trigger an allergic reaction. According to the Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) organization, 15 million people in the United States are affected with food allergies, including one in 13 children.
Boys Town Allergy, Asthma and Pediatric Pulmonology shares insights on staying safe with food allergies.
Allergies are mostly inherited and a child has a higher chance in developing certain food allergies if one or both parents have food allergies. Often, a child can be allergic to the same food(s) as parents. Children, who have other allergic conditions such as eczema or asthma, are more likely to have food allergies than children who do not have other allergic conditions. Common food allergies include peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, dairy, soybeans, wheat, and seafood. Your child may have a food allergy if symptoms develop within two hours after eating certain foods.
Some children suffer from anaphylaxis, a severe anaphylactic (allergic) reaction such an induced asthma, requiring immediate treatment. Reactions can occur within minutes to two hours after contact and can range from mild to severe.
The following steps may help determine whether your child has a food allergy. Always consult your physician before, and never attempt testing food(s) if your child has had a severe or anaphylactic reaction.
At least half of children who develop a food allergy during the first year of life outgrow the allergens by the time they are 2 or 3 years old. Some reactions to food such as milk or soy are more often outgrown than others like peanuts tree nuts and seafood, which can last a lifetime.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding your child's food allergies, contact a physician at
Boys Town Allergy, Asthma & Pediatric Pulmonology.