If you have a child in school, then you probably know of at least one or two students in their class who have food allergies you have been warned about — your child may be one of them. Many kids have food allergies, and the numbers are growing. At last estimate by the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, there are about 6 million children in the U.S. with some form of food allergy. The holiday season can be especially hard to navigate for families with food allergies. There are lots of events and celebrations with a lot of food, and you can’t always control which allergens your child is exposed to.

Whether you have already identified your child’s sensitivities, or you simply want to stay informed and aware, Pediatric Associates of Northern Colorado wants to give you the information you need to protect your family. If you need advice or assistance, you know who to call — Pediatric Associates has a doctor on call 24/7 to make sure you can talk to a pediatric healthcare professional at any time. Read on to learn more about food allergies and how you can help your kids through the upcoming months of potlucks and holiday treats, and feel free to contact Pediatric Associates of Northern Colorado for more information!

Allergies 101

As we have discussed in a previous blog, an allergy is when your body treats an ordinary substance – in this case, a type of food or ingredient – as a harmful element. It triggers an immune response that can range from simply uncomfortable to life-threatening.

Common Symptoms of an Allergic Reaction:

  • Hives
  • Swelling
  • Throat tightness
  • Itchy or swollen eyes
  • Belly pain
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fainting

Allergy vs. Intolerance

One thing to keep in mind is that there is a difference between an allergy and an intolerance. An intolerance doesn’t involve an immune response; instead, it often means that your body is incapable of digesting a certain substance, such as lactose. Symptoms are also typically less serious, including indigestion, gas, and headaches.

Common Food Allergies

If you are concerned that your child may have a food allergy, there are a few common triggers you may want to keep an eye on, including:

  • Milk and dairy
  • Eggs
  • Peanuts
  • Soy
  • Wheat
  • Tree nuts
  • Fish
  • Shellfish

What to Look For

If your child does have a food allergy, there are a few things you should keep in mind when watching for a reaction. For one, reactions are different in everyone. Your child may not experience the same symptoms as you or someone else in your family with the same food allergy. They may also react differently at different times, so while they don’t break out in hives every time they eat peanut butter, they may still have an allergy you should keep an eye on. Watch for any of the symptoms we listed above, and remember that a reaction can happen any time from a few minutes to a few hours after contact.

Take the First Step Today

If you are concerned that your child may have a food allergy, contact Pediatric Associates of Northern Colorado today to schedule an appointment. We can discuss the specific symptoms they have been experiencing and administer an allergy skin test to help identify the potential triggers. To learn more about the diagnosis and testing process, as well as some preventative measures you can take to keep your child safe, look for part two of this blog! The team at Pediatric Associates is dedicated to keeping your kids healthy and happy, and we are here for you if you have any questions. Explore our site to find more resources or call today to get started!

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