Food allergies are no fun. In fact, in some instances, they can even be life-threatening. Maybe you were born with food allergies or intolerances or maybe you developed some as you age. Either way, it’s important to know what foods might trigger a reaction and how to mitigate adverse effects, especially if you’re a parent with sensitive kids.
In this post, we’ll discuss the five most common food allergies, what their symptoms look like, how to test for them and how to treat a reaction.
One of the most common allergies among babies and young children is cow’s milk. This type of milk has a certain type of protein that can be hard for some people to digest and even cause allergic reactions. The good news is that many children with a milk allergy will outgrow their sensitivity by age 3.
Symptoms of a milk allergy typically present as digestive upset, vomiting, diarrhea or sometimes a rash. You can ask your doctor for an allergy test, which is usually performed as multiple skin pricks and then you watch for reactions. In the meantime, and if you get a positive diagnosis, avoid all food items that include cow’s milk including:
- ice cream
If your child has a rash, you can put calamine or cortisone lotion on their skin to soothe the itching.
Gluten is becoming a widespread allergy among adults and children alike. This allergy is the body’s reaction to gluten, a protein found in some grains. The symptoms of a gluten allergy can range greatly and depend on the person, but some symptoms include stomach upset, rash, brain fog, headaches and diarrhea.
If you suspect you have a gluten allergy, it’s wise to purchase a gluten test kit from a reputable company. These companies will tell you if you’re allergic or intolerant to gluten, both of which can be serious conditions.
If you receive a positive result, then try to avoid gluten wherever possible. Switch to a gluten-free diet and only purchase gluten-free items. Avoidance is the key to relieving symptoms.
Another common allergy among children is eggs. Egg allergies can present with some of the classic signs of an allergic reaction: rash, hives, itchy mouth and throat, trouble breathing, stomach upset and diarrhea. Eggs can be a tricky allergy to identify because sometimes even food made with eggs will trigger an allergic response.
If you suspect you or your child might be allergic to eggs, ask your doctor to do an allergy test. These tests are great for identifying allergies and, depending on the test, the severity of the allergy. With those results in hand, you’ll be better prepared to avoid eggs and find agreeable substitutes.
Peanut allergies can strike at any age and are sometimes life-threatening. Most peanut allergies trigger severe reactions, where a person’s throat might swell up to the point they cannot breathe. Many people with peanut allergies choose to carry an EpiPen at all times just in case they’re unknowingly exposed to peanuts.
Most doctors will test your child for peanut allergies at a young age, but if you notice symptoms it’s wise to have an allergy test performed. In most cases, avoiding peanuts is enough to mitigate the situation. However, reminding your child to always carry an EpiPen is a safe practice in case they’re exposed to peanuts at school or elsewhere when you’re not around.
This is another allergy that can affect people of all ages and that fewer people outgrow. Shellfish allergies often cause reactions similar to peanut allergies and sometimes require an EpiPen intervention.
These allergies often pertain to crustacean shellfish such as crab, lobster and shrimp. Again, the best practice with this allergy, especially if it’s severe, is to simply avoid eating shellfish.
These are five of the most common food allergies. Keep an eye on your children and yourself when you eat these foods to determine if you might be having an adverse reaction.