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Food Allergies in Babies and Toddlers
Allergies are very common and can cause serious reactions. Before introducing solid food, the baby’s digestive and immune systems must be sufficiently developed. Introducing solid foods too early, or introducing foods that are likely to cause problems too early, puts a strain on a baby’s immature systems. When introducing solid food, you must be aware of the possibility of allergic reactions. This article describes the symptoms of allergic reactions and how to minimize them in babies.
In recent years, more and more diseases and complaints that the presence of allergies can cause or contribute to have become aware of. Allergies are very common. According to conservative estimates, twenty percent of the population is allergic to something. However, if minor allergies such as hay fever, minor eczema and food intolerances are taken into account, the true incidence of allergies and/or intolerances may be much higher. Changes in Western diets over the past 100 to 200 years—especially food refinement, the use of food additives, and increased consumption of animal products and environmental pollution—are thought to have contributed significantly to the spread. from all forms of allergic diseases.
What is an allergy?
The word means “altered response” and an allergic person usually suffers physical symptoms (such as headaches and migraines, vomiting, rashes, asthma) when exposed to substances to which they are sensitive. The substance that causes the reaction is called an allergen, and it can be house dust, dog or cat dander, food/food, chemical/substances, or bacteria, to name a few. In this article, we will discuss food allergies.
When solid food is introduced, the child may have an allergic reaction to wheat, for example, and develop diarrhea, colic, colic, runny nose, or even a mild ear infection, asthma, or eczema. The cause of these symptoms often goes undiagnosed and may even be treated as a passing infection if the problem is a runny nose or earache. The offending food is continued to be offered, and the infant usually recovers from acute symptoms, although persistent, relatively mild symptoms may occur. At some later stage (days, months, years later), symptoms appear after periods of infection or stress, or simply due to the gradual failure of a healthy state.
If the food is stopped, symptoms usually disappear within three to five days, although sometimes, especially in children, it can last up to three weeks. There may also be pronounced withdrawal symptoms that eventually disappear.
When introducing new foods to babies and toddlers, you need to be aware of allergy symptoms. This is especially true if parents or other family members have food allergies.
What does a food allergy look like in a baby or toddler?
The symptoms associated with food allergy are vast and can mimic a range of different clinical conditions. Depends on the baby or toddler. Some of the symptoms in babies and toddlers include:
- itchy mouth and throat,
- rashes, eczema and hives,
- cramps and colic,
- nausea and vomiting,
- diarrhea or constipation,
- wheezing, sneezing, runny nose,
- unusual crying,
- shortness of breath,
- hyperactivity and
- sleep disorders.
In extreme cases, a child can develop a life-threatening condition called anaphylactic shock. Serious symptoms or reactions to any allergen require immediate medical attention.
What are the most common causes of food allergies?
Foods most likely to cause allergies include:
- wheat, rye, oats, barley, corn (maize),
- cow’s milk and other dairy products,
- chicken eggs and chicken meat,
- cane sugar and beet sugar,
- fish and shellfish,
- dyes and preservatives,
- chocolate and
What can you do?
Here are two things you can do as a parent to reduce your baby’s susceptibility to food allergies and the severity of food allergies:
- Wait until your baby is at least 6 months old to introduce solids.
- Follow the 4-day waiting rule when introducing new foods to your child.
Wait until your baby is 6 months old
Babies are not born with a mature digestive system, and they cannot handle or digest food properly until their digestive system has matured, between 4 and 6 months of age. Before this, your baby should only have breast milk or formula. If you wait until your baby is 6 months old to give him solid foods, he will have the best chance of digesting food and smooth digestion will reduce the risk of allergies.
4-day waiting rule
When you start feeding your baby solids, you need to be sure that the food won’t cause a reaction. Sometimes it can take three or four days for a reaction to appear.
Introduce one food at a time and then wait four days before introducing another food.
It is worth keeping a food diary, where it is noted which foods are introduced and when. This information can be very valuable later if your child has a reaction that may be due to an infection or irritation or wind or whatever, when in fact it could be a food reaction. If you also notice the beginning of specific problems, you can quite often identify the offending food, remove it from the child’s diet and have a healthy and happy child.
If there is a family history of food intolerance, it is recommended to avoid eating cow’s milk or wheat until the child is 12 months old or even older. (If you introduce these foods at all – but that’s another topic.)
Allergies are very common and can cause serious reactions. A baby’s digestive and immune systems must be sufficiently developed before introducing solid food. Introducing solid foods too early, or introducing foods that are likely to cause problems too early, puts a strain on a baby’s immature systems. When introducing solid food, you need to be aware of the possibility of allergic reactions, and if you are concerned about a reaction, stop giving the food and give the baby more time to mature. Although the above details are intended to be generally useful and educational, they should not be construed as a substitute for individual advice from a healthcare professional. You should seek professional help if your child’s allergies are sudden, extreme, long-lasting, or do not improve.
Bland, J. 1996, Contemporary Nutrition. J & B Associates.
Davies, S. and A. Stewart, 1997, Nutritional Medicine. Pan.
Elliot, N. 2004, Green peace. Practical parenting.
Holden, S., Hudson, K., Tilman, J. & D. Wolf, 2003, The Ultimate Guide to Health from Nature. Astrologer Edition.
Pressman, A. and S. Buff, 2000, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Vitamins and Minerals. (2nd Edition) Alpha Books.
Soothill, R. 1996, Vitamin and Mineral Selection Guide. Selection Book Edition.
Sullivan, K. 2002, Vitamins and Minerals: A Practical Approach to Healthy Nutrition and Safe Supplementation. HarperCollins.
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