Infants are more likely to end up with allergies if there is a family history of asthma, eczema, hay fever or food allergies. Once an infant has a family history of these conditions, exclusive breastfeeding for the initial 6 months can help reduce the risk. For those who are not breastfeeding, the doctor might recommend the kind of formula for the child.
When introducing solids, it is best to initially provide foods one at a time to spot any reaction such as the eggs, milk, nuts, wheat, shellfish and fish as well as seeds. Avoid introducing any of these until the child reaches 6 months. Many children are able to outgrow allergies to eggs or milk but an allergy to peanut is considered life-long.
An allergy to nuts, products made out of nuts and some seeds affect some individuals. A child faces a higher risk for peanut allergy if he/she already has an allergy or a family history of allergies.
In such cases, a doctor should be consulted before providing peanuts or any foods that contain nuts to the child for the first time. Do not provide the child with peanuts or foods that contain it before 6 months old.
The foods that contain peanuts include peanut oil, peanut butter and some snack products. Take note that whole peanuts should not be given to children below 5 years old since they can choke on them. Carefully read the food labels and avoid foods if uncertain if they contain peanuts.
Does my child have food allergy?
It is important to note that an allergic reaction can trigger any of the following signs and symptoms:
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Itchy skin or rashes
- Shortness of breath or wheezing
- Itchy tongue and throat
- Sore, reddened and itchy eyes
- Blocked or runny nose
In some cases, certain foods can trigger a severe allergic reaction that can be dangerous. If a child is suspected with an allergic reaction to food, seek immediate medical care. When it comes to the diet of the child, a dietitian is consulted to ensure that the right diet is observed.
Certain foods contain additives for various reasons such as to preserve it, add texture or color and help make it safe to eat for extended periods.
Always bear in mind that all food additives undergo strict safety testing before they can be used. The labelling on food must clearly indicate any additives used in the ingredient list such as its name, “E” number and their function. Some individuals end up with detrimental reactions to some food additives but reactions to common foods such as soya or milk are quite prevalent.
Processed foods are more likely to contain high levels of salt, fat and sugar as well as additive. With this in mind, it is best to avoid eating a lot of these foods.