Does your child’s skin turn blue or pale after eating certain foods? Does he complain of a tingling feeling in his mouth? It could be a skin allergy caused by his diet.
By Ashwin Dewan
Many children develop skin allergies on eating certain foods. Specific food items like milk, eggs, peanuts, wheat, soy and tree nuts account for over 90% of food allergies in children, according to a leading health website.
While your child may outgrow his allergic reaction to milk and eggs, peanut and tree nut allergies are likely to persist. Read on to know about foods that can cause skin allergies in children. We also take a look at the symptoms, which may help you recognise whether your child is having a food allergy or not.
Although, food allergy may differ from one child to another, yet, it should be noted that food allergy symptoms may appear instantly after your child has consumed the food or a few hours later. While food allergies can appear at any age, most of them begin in early childhood. In most cases, symptoms include:
In some cases, symptoms may become serious and affect the whole body. It can cause rashes, throat-swelling and even shortness of breath. This kind of extreme reaction is called anaphylaxis and should be given immediate medical assistance.
Children love eggs in all forms – boiled, poached, scrambled or omelettes. Eggs are considered a complete food for children as they are a good source of protein. However, some children may develop an allergic reaction to eggs that affect the skin in the form of red patches and rashes. Some children develop allergies only to the egg whites and not the yolk. However, if your child has an egg allergy, he should avoid the egg altogether.
Alternative: Supplement your child’s protein content with other sources like pulses and meat.
Often, milk is labelled as the complete food for children. Some brands are fortified with nutrients. Milk contributes to the overall growth and development your child. But, not all children can digest milk. If your child is allergic to milk, he may develop symptoms like vomiting and bloating.
Alternative: Try using almond milk, coconut milk or soy milk. You can use these forms of milk in cereals, milkshakes and even in baking.
Sometimes, wheat and other grains that contain gluten such as barley, rye and oats can cause skin allergy in children. A protein called gluten, found in wheat is the root cause of wheat allergy in children, who suffer from symptoms like watery diarrhoea, indigestion, and swelling in the throat and face after consuming wheat.
Alternative: Wheat can be substituted with other flours like millets, rice, or maize. You can even use these substitutes in breads and pancakes.
Peanuts are considered among the most common food allergens in children. Often, children who are allergic to them will experience a burning or itching sensation in the mouth. A tingling feeling may also occur, which is caused by an increase in the levels of histamine in the soft tissue that results from an allergic reaction.
Alternative: Sunflower seeds make an ideal replacement nutritionally.
The digestive system of some children is sensitive to certain foods, particularly soya. Since, soya is used often in processed form, as nuggets, make sure your child is not allergic to it before you include it in your child’s diet. Allergy from soya bean consumption in the form of tofu, soy sauce or soy-based milk can lead to swelling on the hands, feet, tongue and lips of children.
As an alternative: Soy is consumed by vegetarians mainly due to its high protein content. So, you can always give your child milk, eggs, or meat that can be a good replacement.
Does your son love corn but falls ill every time he has one? Well, it might indicate your child has an allergic reaction to corn. Many processed foods contain corn and corn-derived products like cornstarch and high-fructose corn syrup making it difficult for children to choose the ones which are free of corn. A corn allergy may be difficult to diagnose but hives or skin rash is one symptom.
Alternative: Check to see if the food product has any trace of corn. You can use corn-free starch and corn-free baking powder in your cooking.
Now that you know that your child is sensitive to certain foods, the next step would be to do a diagnosis. This often involves a skin allergy test, also called a scratch test, to identify the substances causing the allergy.
A regular blood test to check the number of antibodies produced by the immune system of your child is also done.
The most effective ways to treat a skin allergy is to simply avoid the foods that cause them. In most cases, mild reactions will often subside without treatment.
In case the situation is life-threatening, a shot of counter-allergy injection will help.
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