How to Know if Your Child Has a Food Allergy

Food allergies are on the rise in children. Between 1997 and 2011, food allergies in children increased by 50 percent, affecting approximately 5.9 million children in the United States alone. While statistics focus specifically on food allergies, they exclude the many children who experience food sensitivities, which can be very unpleasant for children.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A FOOD ALLERGY AND SENSITIVITY?

There are a few defining differences between food sensitivity and a food allergy reactions. The first distinction is the immediacy of the reaction. Food allergies appear quickly and are usually quite notable such as coughing, sneezing, or vomiting. Food sensitivities can be more subtle and can often take hours to emerge.

In order to properly determine whether or not a child is reacting to foods they have eaten, it is important for parents to be aware of all the different ways food sensitivities and allergies manifest. Below are a number of likely indicators that your child may not be tolerating a particular food or a group of foods well.

Vomiting

If your baby or child is vomiting regularly – in the absence of fever and other signs of infection – this usually indicates a reaction to a food she/he has eaten.

Frequent Runny Stools

When children are still in diapers, it is harder to tell if stools are runny. Note if the stools appear more watery on occasions when suspect foods are consumed and if other signs of sensitivity are present.

Not Gaining Weight

If children are sensitive to foods they are eating, their bodies will often try to eliminate the food quickly. This will impair the proper digestion and absorption of food and thus can have a negative impact on healthy weight gain.

Rashes

The appearance of skin rashes is a very common sign that your child is reacting to something. This reaction can be due to many factors such as foods, clothing, detergents, and body care products so it is wise to consider all of these sources as possible irritants.

Breathing Problems

When we are exposed to allergens, our respiratory system attempts to rid the body of them. During this process, the lungs secrete mucous, and this is why children with allergies are often congested and have runny noses.

Frequent Crying or Colic

When babies or toddlers have digestive discomfort due to a food sensitivity or allergy, they will often express it through crying . Since they lack the verbal skills to properly communicate the reality of their pain, they rely on crying to try to get the message across.

Post originally appeared on Naturally Savvy

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