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Food Allergies

What is a Food Allergy?  

A food allergy is an immune response to a food, accompanied by digestive symptoms or a range of whole-body reactions. This requires complete avoidance of a food allergen.  

Digestive symptoms can be delayed from hours to weeks after consuming the food causing the allergy, not immediate.  Examples are Celiac Disease or FPIES.  

Symptoms of the body can escalate to anaphylaxis which is life threating. Some food allergies that can cause these symptoms include peanut or shellfish allergies.   

How is it different to intolerance? 

An intolerance or sensitivity commonly causes digestive symptoms soon after consumption that do NOT involve an immune response. For example, lactose intolerance or gluten sensitivity.  

How common are they?  

About 6% of children and adults in the US have a food allergy. Children may outgrow a food allergy over time. 

Your child or you may be at risk if you or they have other allergies, eczema, asthma, or a family history of these.  

The most common food allergies are; Milk, Egg, Peanut, Tree nut, Shellfish, Fish, Soy, Wheat & Sesame.  

How to do it? 

Currently it is recommended to begin introducing allergy foods at 6 months. Here are some tips to introducing;  

  • Offer one new allergenic food at a time.  
  • Signs of allergic reaction show up within 2 hours of eating.  
  • A reaction may occur during the first, second or third exposure to the food.  
  •  Once introduced, continue to offer allergenic foods often.  
  • Look out for reactions, they may appear as;  
  • Hives, rash, swelling, vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, difficulty breathing.  
  • Always supervise when feeding or offering your baby foods. 

Consult with your child's primary health care provider if you suspect you or your child may have a food allergy, or if your baby has severe eczema. 

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