Thursday, October 18, 2012

Eggs, Peanuts, and Wheat! O My!

Food allergies are so common these days! It seems like every family I know deals with some type of food allergy. Although food allergies can be inherited, some kids with no family history still develop them. I want little Dino to be able to eat anything and not have to worry with this, so I am trying my hardest to prevent them! So, of course, I started researching.
Just like everything else I have been researching lately- the advice is widespread! Some recommend waiting to introduce the common allergen foods until 2-3 years of age. While others like American Academy of Pediatrics state that after 6 months of age, there is no research supporting the idea of delaying particular foods in order to reduce chances of developing an allergy.
A couple of studies have shown less food allergies when food is introduced closer to 6 months rather than waiting until after a year. An article on the American Academy of Allery, Asthma, and Immunology’s website discusses research that was published in late 2010. They found that babies that were given eggs at a later age (after 10 months) were more likely to have an egg allergy than the ones that were introduced to eggs at an earlier age (around 4-6 months). They state this could be true of other common allergens and could eventually change the infant feeding guidelines.
According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, six foods account for 90% of food allergies in children: cow’s milk, eggs, peanuts, wheat, soy and tree nuts (walnuts, pecans, etc.). Other allergenic foods include: pork, fish and shellfish, oranges and other citrus fruits, berries, chocolate, tomatoes, corn, and food additives.
So what should we do with all of the conflicting advice? Honestly, I am not sure what the best route is! Since there is no research to support waiting and some research that favors earlier introduction verses later, we will not get too caught up with avoiding these foods. I do think it is a good idea to be aware of the most common allergens and closely observe your child when introducing those particular foods. Food allergy symptoms tend to appear within a few minutes to a couple of hours after eating. WebMD list the following symptoms to watch for with food allergies.
·         Hives
·         Flushed skin or rash
·         Face, tongue, or lip swelling
·         Vomiting and/or diarrhea
·         Coughing or wheezing
·         Difficulty breathing
·         Loss of consciousness
And also keep in mind that some foods are still off-limits until 1 year old for reasons other than preventing allergies. These include: honey (and processed foods made with honey), cow’s milk, and added salt and sugar.
For Dino, we will pay extra close attention the first few times foods like eggs or wheat are on the menu, but I don't plan to wait an extra amount of time to introduce these. What about your family? When did you introduce these foods to your little one? Did they have any allergic reactions?

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