Food Allergies in Children under the Age of 2 years

The diet of your child is something that causes most anxiety among parents. They either eat too less, or eat too much, or unable to eat something entirely. And if your baby has food allergies then an already complicated equation becomes even more complicated!

However, the only way to be better at your job as a parent and take utmost care of your child even when they are suffering from a food allergy is through awareness. Knowledge about food allergies will help you detect them in your child early on. The sooner you discover an allergy, the better chances you’ll have to avoid health scares.

Let’s have a look at all the allergies that are most prevalent in children below the age of two.

  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Soy
  • Milk
  • Nuts
  • Shellfish
  • Wheat
  • Citrus Fruit

These foods are most likely to cause allergies in babies, and while we are going to discuss some of them in details, here are some guide lines.

When your child begins the intake of solid food, make sure you introduce one or two foods at a time, so that if there is an allergic reaction, and keeping a food diary for the first two months of introducing solids can tell you right away what caused it.

Let’s get some more insight into these food allergies:

Nut Allergy

If your child is suffering from a nut allergy, their immune system will react almost immediately after the intake of nuts or any food containing nuts. The immune system will treat the nuts as a huge threat to the body.

Most of the times, the reaction to nuts are mild in young children, but with some children, these reactions can be extremely severe. This life-threatening reaction by nuts is called anaphylaxis and must be treated as fast as possible.

The symptoms of anaphylaxis are:

  • Constricted airways
  • A swelled throat that causes difficulty in breathing
  • A sharp drop in blood pressure
  • Increase in pulse
  • Lightheadedness
  • Losing consciousness
  • Dizziness

The life-threatening nature of this allergy is one of the reasons why it is imperative to discover allergies in children at a young age.

In the United States, the percentage of people suffering from peanut allergies in 1997 was 0.6, in 2008; it was double with 1.4%. Based on this, the estimated percentage doesn’t look that good for 2018. Additionally, this allergy is most prevalent in children below the age of 3 years old.

Egg Allergy

A good thing about egg allergy is that it has a very high chance of disappearing as the child grows up. Even though the immune system of a baby works round the clock to protect the babies from the harmful viruses and bacteria, it is still developing and gets slightly confused.

One of the reasons for egg allergies in young babies is because of the inability of their immune system to differentiate between the disease-causing pathogens and the proteins found in the egg. As a result, it sees the egg proteins as life-threatening invaders and releases a plethora of antibodies to mount an attack.

Other reasons for egg allergy could be genetic, or a result of a severe illness that rendered the immune system weak. Often, general allergies to nuts and grains may also indicate a possible allergy to egg.

As a result, the body releases histamines which end up triggering skin rashes, runny nose, and other reactions. Due to this, the baby is not able to tolerate egg in any form. Hence when you are introducing egg to your baby for the first time, begin with a small bite and wait until you are sure there is no reaction before feeding more.

And if your child is still reacting, it could be because the mother is consuming egg and breastfeeding the baby. Mothers can eliminate egg from their diet to be sure.

Following are some of the symptoms of egg allergy in babies:

  • Hives, rashes and other skin reactions
  • Stomach aches
  • Respiratory issues

Dairy Allergy

Dairy allergy, lactose intolerance, and milk allergy are all closely related. While it is important to differentiate exactly from which allergy a person is suffering from, it can wait till for later. With babies, it is safer to steer clear of all of it.

The babies with allergy to dairy, who react severely to milk from cows and other animals, are actually reacting to the protein present in them. Similar to the egg allergy, the developing immune system of the babies fail to differentiate between the protein in the milk and the disease-causing pathogens. The chances of dairy allergy in babies are even higher because there are more than 20 different kinds of proteins in milk.

However, the allergy may disappear as the baby grows up.

Some of the general symptoms to allergic reactions include wheezing, coughing, trouble in breathing, hoarseness, tightness of throat, diarrhea, hives, swelling, red spots on the skin, a sharp drop in the blood pressure and loss of consciousness.

Citrus Allergy

This allergy is one of the rare ones; nonetheless, some babies may react to the flesh or the peel of citric fruits. Citric fruits include lemons, lines, orange, and grapefruits.

Drinks made from citrus fruits cause immediate reactions in allergic babies. The symptoms are localized as well, which means even touching the fruit may cause symptoms such as reddening, itching, blisters, swelling on the lips, gums etc.

If you notice your baby reacting to any food, reach out to a pediatrician immediately and request for an Allergen Elimination Diet to discover the cause of allergic reaction. If you are nursing your baby, you would also have to cut down on some of the food items that might be causing the allergic reaction.

© Teresa Boardman, Nanny Options.


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