It is estimated that around 32 Million Americans suffer from food allergy and of those,, 5.6 million children under 18 years of age have food allergy.
What is a food allergy?
Food allergy is an abnormal reaction of the body’s immune system to certain food components.
It occurs when the body’s immune system recognises the normal food component as an allergen.
The body then produces IgE immunoglobulins to neutralize the allergens.
Hence, the signs and symptoms of allergy appear.
What are the signs and symptoms of food allergy?
Signs and symptoms of food allergy range from mild to severe, depending upon the severity of reaction.
- Red patches formation on the body (urticaria)
- Runny eyes and nose
- Swelling of lips, throat and face
In severe cases (anaphylaxis):
- Difficulty breathing
- Swollen throat
- Decreased blood pressure
- Pounding pulse
- Unconsciousness or drowsiness
How to treat food allergy?
The treatment is mostly avoidance of the allergenic foods that can cause an allergic reaction.
For severe allergic reactions including anaphylaxis:
- Adrenaline administration: it is a life-saving drug
- Call 911 or your health care provider immediately
The best treatment is to control and prevent food allergies. It can be done as follows:
- Read the food labels before consuming and be very sure of the contents
- If you are dining out, inform the restaurant staff about your allergy
- Wear medical bracelet or necklace mentioning allergy
The guidelines are issued by the US Department of Agriculture and the US Department of Health and Human Services to provide information regarding food and drink choices.
There are certain specific recommendations regarding infant and toddler diet.
This will help you reshape your kid’s diet plan.
Below are some main recommendations for infants and toddlers’ diet:
1. Introducing allergens to infants
At the age of 4 months start introducing allergens to your child’s food. This will prevent food allergies later in life.
Allergenic foods like, peanuts, eggs, cow milk products, soy, tree-nuts, fish, wheat and shellfish etc should be introduced in early infancy.
However, avoid feeding chunks of nuts or other foods as this is associated with choking hazard.
2. Feed your children with different types of foods
It is important to introduce multiple foods to your children.
This on one hand, reduces the incidence of food allergies. On the other hand, eating a nutritious diet helps maintain good health.
So, feed your kid with various types of fruits, vegetables, nuts and meat.
However, make sure that you feed the right quantity in the right form.
3. Say no to added sugars
There is a big no to the consumption of added sugars in everyone’s diet. But this is especially important in case of infants and toddlers.
This is because consuming added sugars, on one hand, is not healthy at all.
Your child needs to take some real nutrition. On the other hand, this age is crucial in developing eating habits.
So, if your child develops a taste for added sugars at this stage, it will be very difficult to avoid these later in life.
Consequently, health will be destroyed.
4. Baby-led feeding
Recognize and respond to the hunger and fullness cues of your infant and feed him according to that.
This method is termed, responsive feeding.
USDA guidelines recommend breast feeding the infants for the first 6 months of life.
It is a perfect food for the little tummy.
However, if it is not possible, feed your young one with iron fortified formula milk.