What Every Parent Should Know About Pediatric Food Allergies
It is incredibly common for infants and young children to have some type of food allergy. This chronic condition is believed to affect upward of 50 million kids within the United States, making it one of the leading specialties in pediatric care.
Not all children will experience an allergic reaction the very first time they consume a particular food. Some may develop an allergy later in life, which is why it is important to see a specialist if you notice any abnormal symptoms, regardless of your child’s age.
The board-certified pediatricians at La Grande Family Medicine provide testing for pediatric food allergies at our office in La Grande, OR. Learn about the signs and triggers of food allergies and schedule your child’s appointment today.
What Are the Signs of a Food Allergy?
Symptoms of a food allergy exist on a spectrum, meaning that they can range from very mild to severe. More mild reactions would include having an itchy mouth or throat, while the most severe type of reaction is anaphylaxis.
Anaphylaxis will occur within moments of ingesting an allergic substance. It will typically cause the throat to swell, making breathing quite difficult. Anyone who experiences anaphylaxis will need medical attention immediately.
Less intense reactions will often occur within a couple hours of eating a trigger food. In some cases, there may be a delayed reaction that does not present itself until 4 or even 6 hours after food consumption.
Children with a food allergy will usually exhibit one or more of the following symptoms during a reaction:
- Swelling of the tongue or throat
- Difficulty swallowing
- Stomach cramping
- A weakened pulse
- Circulatory collapse
Common Triggers of Food Allergies
While any food has the potential to cause an allergic reaction, there are nine specific types that are responsible for a majority of pediatric food allergies, including:
- Tree nuts
- Seeds (mustard seeds and sesame seeds are among the most common to cause an allergic reaction)
What Should I Do If I Suspect My Child Has a Food Allergy?
The best thing that any parents can do for a child with a food allergy is to seek the advice of your pediatrician at La Grande Family Medicine. Our pediatricians begin by working with each new patient to accurately diagnose their food allergen. This process consists of performing several evaluations and tests, such as:
- An allergen skin test
- Blood tests
- Patch testing
- Lung function evaluation
- Examining oral food challenges
- Immune function testing
Once some or all of these tests has been completed, our specialist will be able to provide individualized treatment options based on the child’s unique results. For more information about this process, or to schedule a consultation for your child with La Grande Family Medicine, please call (541) 963-4139 today!