Diagnosing Food Allergens in Children

Peanuts are part of the first eight allergens that, globally, cause 90% of all food allergies. Researchers have documented nearly 170 different allergenic foods, but other than peanuts, the seven most common are: milk (dairy products), eggs, fish with fins, crustaceans, nuts, wheat and soy. However, peanut allergies tend to be the most severe. From a medical point of view, peanut allergies can be treated like any other food, in terms of symptoms, treatments and diagnostic tests.

Food allergy is one of the most common, especially among children under 6 years of age. That’s why when it comes to allergy testing naperville il professionals say kids should be tested early. The increase in the prevalence of food allergy, the number of foods involved, and the severity of the reactions, have made increasingly frequent visits to the emergency room, and doctors say parents must know what to look for.

How to Recognize Peanut and Food Allergies

Doctors say observe symptoms that may indicate an allergic reaction and document the food and the reaction. Peanut butter is one of the basic foods for school-age children in the United States, because it is rich in nutrients and inexpensive. It’s important to determine if your child is allergic before sending him to school, where he or she is most likely to be exposed, unless you take preventive measures. Even preventive measures are not always a guarantee because mistakes happen.

There is a family predisposition to allergies, especially if both parents are allergic, and it is likely the child will suffer the same allergic reactions. Children who have no family history of food allergies probably do not need to undergo an allergy test, but parents and siblings of children with a peanut allergy should be evaluated and tested as early as possible.

Symptoms of An Allergy

The most common are the adverse reactions on the skin (redness, swelling of the lips or eyelids and hives). In addition, digestive symptoms such as vomiting, and diarrhea may also occur and in the most severe cases (anaphylaxis) sudden onset of respiratory distress and decrease in blood pressure. Some of the symptoms may be difficult to recognize, that’s why documenting any occurrence is important.

Allergic tests diagnose a food allergy by measuring IgE antibody levels, which is the most frequent type of allergy and the one with risk of anaphylaxis—a severe allergic reaction. They are carried out with skin prick and blood tests. These tests are effective and accurate exams to diagnose with certainty a food allergy.

Reacting to an Allergic Reaction

Parents must know the symptoms of an allergic reaction to follow specific protocol. In cases of mild reactions, the symptoms are relieved by oral antihistamines, although this medication does not prevent progression to developing more severe symptoms. If it is a severe reaction or anaphylaxis, the only effective treatment is an intramuscular adrenaline shot, or an Epi-Pen. Corticosteroids and antihistamines will not useful. Children at risk of developing anaphylaxis must always have an auto-injectable Epi-Pen.

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