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How do you know if your child has allergies?

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2015-08-31 21:52:18
2015-08-31 21:52:18

Allergies can show themselves in a number of ways -- runny noses, ear infections, digestive disorders, irritability, hyper- and hypo-activity, and such. Adults are often more sensitive to "not feeling right" than children are, so look for indicators such as changes in behavior or chronic/repeated sickness the correlates to exposure to various substances (foods, airborne particles, chemicals, etc.). Recurrent stomach aches, never-ending ear infections, or changes in bowel habits may indicate that an allergy is present. In infants, colic, formula intolerance, frequent spitting up, and low-grade fevers can be signs of allergies. Note that allergic reactions will not occur on first exposure to the allergen; they require that initial "priming." Some may occur on second exposure while others may take repeated exposure to develop.

For infants, breast milk is the safest food, in terms of allergies. Some children are allergic to or intolerant of cow's milk, soy formulas, and such. The best advice is to experiment until you find what works for your child. (Some mothers report that the mother's consumption of cow's milk will cause a reaction in a breastfed child; this has been confirmed by medical experts, so you may need to check this if your child is breastfed).

When a child is born, the intestinal track is not fully developed. Some foods may cause a reaction in babies that will be outgrown as the child matures. The safest course is to introduce new foods one at a time over an extended period (say, one food per week) and see if the child has an allergic reaction. Postponing the introduction of common allergens (wheat, cow's milk, corn, eggs) and favoring the introduction of almost-always-safe foods (rice, apples, bananas) is one sensible approach.

For older children, allergies can have any of the symptoms above. If a child is extremely reluctant to eat a particular food, there may be an allergy problem that shows up as a stomach ache (common in milk intolerance) or other non-visible ways. On the other hand, while most children will avoid foods which make them really sick, some may NOT make the connections when the allergy is mild. So parents need to listen to the child and use common sense and detective abilities to help determine the problem.

Children may outgrow some allergies, or at least become less sensitive to some allergens. Parents may want to retry foods after a long period. NOTE: if the allergy is a severe one, do NOT retest the food on your own! Do this only under the supervision of your doctor! For less severe allergies, you can first test the allergen by rubbing a bit on the child's wrist (inside) and see if a skin reaction occurs. If no reaction occurs, let the child try a very small amount of the food. Again, if no reaction occurs, let the child try a slightly larger amount. The child may never be able to eat a lot of the food but may be able to tolerate small amounts after a "rest" period away from the allergen.

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