Avoiding food allergy mistakes with children

We are hearing talk of food allergies more often because there seems to be an increase in allergies found in children. What should you do if you think your child might have an allergy? Stay calm and consider these important points. Don't hesitate to contact a pediatric allergist if you see serious symptoms.

Self Diagnosing

If you are familiar with some of the symptoms of food allergies, you may think about trying to diagnose your child but this is usually a mistake. Common symptoms can include stomach pain, hives, sneezing, coughing, itching or diarrhea. Diagnosing a food allergy is difficult because many of the symptoms could be pointing to another problem and not necessarily a food allergy.

Changing a Diet

Parents assume that changing the child's diet is the best course of action when in reality it is another pitfall. Health professionals don’t recommend changing a child's diet before you have seen a pediatric allergist. It is actually harder to get a proper diagnosis when foods are removed from a diet. Eliminating essential food groups from a child's diet can be unhealthy and they could become deficient in key nutrients needed for growth.

Keep a Log

Write down all the food your child eats for a couple of weeks and note any symptoms seen after eating. It is a good idea to note the time they ate in relation to the time a symptom may have appeared. A log with two weeks worth of documentation can help a specialist to rule out several foods and determine a better recommendation.

Since most parents do not have the training to properly determine what is wrong with their child, it is best to get professional help. Avoid practitioners who are not qualified to test for food allergies. If you see unusual symptoms, contact a pediatric allergist to get your child tested. Consult with a dietitian about food and nutrition if your allergist finds problems.

Author
Dr. Summit Shah

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