One in 13 kids has a food allergy, and 40% of children with food allergies are allergic to more than one of the greater than 170 foods known to cause allergic reactions. Two in five children with food allergies have suffered a severe reaction. How can you tell if your child is having an allergic reaction to food, and what can you do to help them?
At First Pediatric Care Center, located in Gastonia, North Carolina, Dr. Margaret Lubega is a food allergy specialist who can diagnose your child’s food allergies and provide help in managing symptoms and reducing risk.
Common foods that can cause an allergic reaction
While many different foods can cause allergic reactions, certain food groups are known for being the most common triggers.
- fish and shellfish (such as shrimp and lobster)
- peanuts and tree nuts (including walnuts, almonds, cashews, and pistachios)
- cow's milk
Some fruits and vegetables can also cause severe allergic reactions. Strawberries can be a threat, as can cherries or grapes (all members of the Rosaceae family of fruits.)
Warning signs of a food allergy
The best way to stay on top of potential food allergies is to introduce only one new food at a time when your child is small, and watch them closely for any sort of reaction. The most common warning signs of a food allergy include:
- Itching or tingling in the mouth (your child may stick their tongue out and swipe at it)
- Hives, itching, or eczema (these usually show up on the face and torso first)
- Swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat (watch closely for puffy lips as an early warning sign)
- Sudden nasal congestion, wheezing, or trouble breathing (this could be the start of anaphylaxis)
- Abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting (also signs of food poisoning)
- Dizziness, lightheadedness, or loss of consciousness (take immediate action and go to an ER)
Diagnosing food allergies
Dr. Lubega can conduct allergy testing to help you figure out which foods are most likely to trigger a reaction in your child; she can also provide you with guidance on how to protect them against a potentially dangerous reaction. You may need to acquire an EpiPen® and learn how to use it. You will also need to remain vigilant as your child grows. While they may outgrow some of their food allergies as their body changes, they can become allergic to new foods over time.
If you think your child has one or more food allergies, contact our office at 704-296-8631 or schedule an appointment online with our booking tool.