Food Allergy in Children

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Food Allergy in Children

According to statistics, every third child is allergic to several food products. Because of that parents have difficulties preparing assorted food. Red cheeks in children do not always speak of their good health, very often it is a sign of atopic dermatitis, also called eczema. It can be local (on the cheeks, around the lips, between wrinkles) and generalized, when there is not even a patch of healthy skin. The affected area itches.

Types of food allergy

There are a few types of atopic dermatitis. Usually atopic dermatitis manifests as reddening, slightly elevated above skin, which is rough and scurfy.

Urticaria means rashes that look like an insect sting or a skin reddening after bruising with a nettle. That is why it is called urticaria (from the Latin ,,urtica", nettle)

Exudative diathesis is a very unpleasant disease, in which rashes get wet, wounds occur.

If Quincke's edema occurs, the face becomes swollen (or only eye lashes, lips or the tongue), but the color of the skin remains normal.

Causes

Allergy occurs during the first years of life. These are the causes:

  1. Digestive enzymes cannot completely disintegrate food, so the "dangerous" substances are not neutralized.
  2. Intestinal microflora of newborns is not fully formed, therefore, any negative factors (like the use of antibiotics or misbalanced diet) may lead to dysbacteriosis. Dysbacteriosis is the reason why normal food disintegration to "unharmfull" molecules is interrupted.
  3. Inherited weak immune system.
  4. Infection during pregnancy as well as pregnancy pathology. Because of these causes fetus does not get enough oxygen, so his immune system becomes disrupted.
  5. Harmful habits of pregnant and breastfeeding women: smoking, alcohol abuse as well as misbalanced diet.
  6. Harmful environment. Polluted air and widely used household chemistry damages the immune system.
  7. Misbalanced diet of the baby.
  8. Infant formula feeding. Mothers's milk has substances enhancing the baby's immunity. In those who are feeded on infant formula allergy is 4 times more frequent.

Allergy in older children can occur if:

  • New products are introduced into diet (usually exotic fruits).
  • Immunity is decreased because of chronic diseases (like tonsillitis or tooth decay).
  • Various digestive tract diseases (gastritis, pancreatitis).

It is important to identify the cause

In order to eliminate the allergy, first of all it is necessary to know the products the child is allergic to. Allergologists may ask mothers various things to find out the allergens:  what the baby's reaction when he had some sort of products was or if there are any relatives who are allergic to any products.

They usually ask to make a so called food diary. The parents must record when and what the child eats in the diary. Skin tests are also useful in determining the allergens. This is how they are done: a droplet of allergen solution is applied to a skin incision.

In some cases other tests are applied: the child is given a suspected allergen and checked if there is any allergic reactions.

If there is a suspicion of dysbacteriosis, additional tests may be required.

Cross allergy

Most of food substances are chemically similar, so allergies for one product can occur when eating another product.

If the child is allergic to cow's milk, he will not be able to drink goat's milk and its products, also, eat beef, veal and use drugs made from cattle pancreatic enzymes.  If the child has rashes from kefir, he/she cannot be given mold cheese, yeast dough products as well as penicillin group antibiotics.

Some children are allergic to berries - strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, currants or cranberries, others may be allergic to fruits - pears, quinces, peaches and plums.

What can you feed your baby on?

Your baby will feel better if you do not give him allergy causing products.

Allergic children should not be feeded on products with food additives E102, E127, conservatives marked E2... as well as E621.

Several delicious, nutritious and harmless dishes:

  • Vegetable soup. Put sliced vegetables into boiling water, put in a bay leaf, as well as some loin fried up in oil with several tomatoes. When it is boiled, relish with some seasonings.
  • Fruit soup. Put some sliced boiled fruits into water and boil up. Pour in some starch mixed with water.
  • Meat and vegetable pate. Boil up the same amount of lean lamb and pork with carrots, parsley and onions. Grind boiled meat and vegetables using a meat grinder. Pour some broth and salt into the mass.
  • Fried cattle liver. Roll up clean and sliced liver into some buckwheat flour and fry the slices up in the oil. This dish is delicious with potatoes.
  • Fish jelly. Take a fish (the best is white fish), clean it, cut it into small pieces, add some salt and boil it for 10 minutes on slow fire. Filter the fluid through a cheesecloth and boil it up once again, put in some mature gelatin, stir the fluid up and leave it to cool down. Put the fish into a bowl, decorate it with boiled vegetables, pour up the gelatin and leave it to cool down.

When is it the time to start using drugs?

The most appropriate way to fight the allergy is a proper diet. Drugs should only be used when the diet is not enough to control the allergy. The drugs are prescribed by a physician.

Antihistamine drugs. They are used during exacerbation of the allergy in order to eliminate its symptoms. They should not be used for a long time, because they might become ineffective. 

Biological therapy. Its goal is to treat dysbacteriosis. Negative side effects include sleepiness and interrupted coordination.

Hormonal ointments. These are the most effective drugs. They can be used in difficult cases, when other drugs are not effective. These drugs have to be administered in short courses because of various negative side effects.

Antibiotics. They are used in cases of chronic infection (but sometimes antibiotics themselves might provoke the allergy).

Immunomodulators. By no means, they must be used without a physicians permission. Only a specialist can prescribe drugs to improve the immunity.

Allergy causing food products

The most allergising products are: cow's milk, eggs, roe, wheat, rye, carrots, tomatoes, bell peppers, celery, strawberries, raspberries, citrus fruits, pineapples, garnets, kiwis, mango, persimmons, melons, coffee, cacao, mushrooms, honey and nuts.

Moderately allergising products are: beef, oats, buckwheat, rice, peas, beans, soy beans, beets, peaches, apricots, cranberries, cowberries, cherries, blueberries, black currants and bananas.

Lowly allergising products are: sour milk products, rabbit meat, turkey, lean pork and lamb, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, pattypan, cucumber, red apples, white and red currants, reddish and yellow sweet cherries, yellow plums, seasonings (parsley, dill and others).

Diet for pregnant women

All products are classified into recommended, prohibited and those of limited use for pregnant women. Women, who have relatives with allergy, have to follow these rules.

Recommended products: sour milk products, buckwheat, corn, rice, oat, green and whitish vegetables and fruits, vegetarian and milky soups, lean pork and beef, boiled turkey and chicken (can be stewed), II class wheat and rye bread, tea, compote.

Limited products: milk, sour cream (only to relish the dishes), noodles and flour, semolina, sweets, sugar, salt.

Prohibited products: fish, sea food, roe, eggs, mushrooms, honey, nuts, chocolate, coffee, cacao, red and orange fruits and vegetables, pineapples, avocados, broth, marinade, salt and spicy dishes, conserved spices.

   

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