Common Food Allergies in Children
Nearly 6% of all children suffer from various food allergies. The common food allergies in children are allergy to milk, soy, egg, peanut, wheat and tree nuts which represent about 90% of all food allergies. Fish and shellfish are other common food allergies but are more common in adults.This following content includes each food allergy’s prevalence, severity and potential outgrowth.
Common Food Allergies in Children
Here are some of the common food allergies in children:
Allergy to milk, especially cow’s milk is the common food allergy in children. It affects about 2.5 % infants. They show reaction even to goat and sheep milk as well. The allergy is usually caused by the proteins, whey and casein present in milk. Lactose sugar present in milk in no way responsible for causing allergies. Being allergic to milk raises the risk of developing allergies to other foods also. Studies revealed that about 10% of children allergic to milk show allergic response to beef.
Allergy to egg is also another common food allergy in children. It affects nearly 2.5% of children. Some children may be allergic to the egg white, some others to yolk and some to both. Children outgrow egg allergy from age 5. They are at risk of even developing asthma and nasal allergies. The influenza vaccination given as a part of routine immunization is not good to give for children with egg allergy whereas MMR vaccination can be given safely to egg allergic children.
Allergy to soy causes life-threatening reactions and this food allergy affects nearly 0.3% of children. This usually happens at a young age and is one of the most common food allergies. Soy allergy occur most commonly in children with milk allergy.
Both children and adults suffer from a variety of immunologic reactions to wheat protein, but only a few are allergic. This food allergy is outgrown at a very young age in children. Children allergic to wheat are allergic even to other cereals like oat, rice and barley.
Allergy to peanuts is a very severe form of food allergy and nearly 0.6% of children show allergic reaction to peanuts. The peanut allergy causes life-threatening reactions especially in asthma affected children. Studies showed that only 20% of children outgrow allergy to peanuts therefore, making it a common allergy in adults too. There are chances of accidental exposure to peanuts as it is present in many foods so it is better for children to have a strict peanut-free diet and wearing a medical alert bracelet.
Allergy to tree nuts develops in nearly 0.5% of children and this is comparatively a less severe allergy. A child allergic to one type of tree nut is likely to be allergic even to another type of tree nut. Though tree nuts and peanuts are totally unrelated foods,there is a chance of cross contamination, therefore many experts recommend to give a strict nut free diet to children.
Seafood allergy includes both fish and shellfish allergies. Though these foods are not related, they are found together in some places. Reactions to these foods are so severe that they can even cause life threatening reactions. Children allergic to one type of shellfish show allergic responses even to other types of shellfish. Therefore, it is advisable to completely avoid the category of fish for seafood allergic children.
Some considerations regarding common food allergies in children:
- Certain food allergies, especially to soy and milk develop as diarrhea in the initial periods.
- Exclusive breast feeding reduces the risk of developing milk allergy in infants who are at high risk.
- Children should not be given cow’s milk until age 1, eggs until 2 and tree nuts, fish, and soy until 3.
- Children can outgrow wheat, eggs and soy allergies by age 6, but allergy to cow’s milk extends even towards school and far beyond.
- Peanuts and tree nuts allergies remain for life-long.
The above mentioned are the common food allergies in children.