Wheat Allergies in Children

Wheat allergies in children occur when a child’s immune system responds to the protein contents of wheat. You must have heard of the immune system having to fight against germs and viruses, but at times our bodies have an exaggerated response against substances that aren’t really harmful for us yet we perceive it to be. One of such substances is wheat. Wheat is among the eight foods that children are allergic to and suffer adverse symptoms when exposed to it.

If a child has wheat allergy, it refers that the child’s immune system might have developed an antibody to some wheat proteins. It means that whenever the child consumes wheat, the body considers it as a harmful substance and thereby releases some allergens for fighting the wheat proteins. These proteins therefore trigger many symptoms in the body. The following article discusses in detail about wheat allergies in children.

Causes of wheat allergy in children:

Experts are of the opinion that four types of proteins believed to be present in wheat which are the cause for acute wheat allergy in children. The four types of protein are:

  • Wheat AllergiesAlbumin
  • Globulin
  • Prolamin
  • Glutenin

Of all these proteins, albumin and globulin are observed to cause wheat allergy in children to a great extent.

Conditions which increase the chances of wheat allergy:

Experts claim that as long as the wheat is in the form of a cereal or is in its seed, the chances of contracting wheat allergy are minimal. However, wheat allergy can come about when exposed to the following conditions:

  • Direct contact with wheat grains while plucking it off the crops
  • Inhaling airborne particles from continuous exposure to wheat flour processing
  • Intake of food products that contain wheat
Symptoms of wheat allergy in children:

These are the common symptoms of wheat allergy in children.

  • Allergic rhinitis
  • Inflammation of airways
  • Stomach upset
  • Nasal and sinus congestion
  • Irritation when swallowing food
  • Swelling of throat and mouth
  • Swelling of lips
  • Itchy skin rashes
  • Asthma
  • Urticaria or hives
  • Abdominal cramping and pain in varying degrees
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Runny nose
  • Itchy eyes
  • Constant sneezing
  • Bloating in stomach

Rarely, a child may experience anaphylactic shock that triggers the following symptoms:

  • Blockage of airways
  • Skin color turning blue
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Dizziness
Tests or diagnosis for treating wheat allergy in children:

Doctors follow a standard procedure of conducting tests that are essential to detect wheat allergy in children and they include the following:

  • Skin prick tests
  • Blood tests
  • Immunological tests
  • Elimination challenge tests to identify and build the child’s tolerance levels for wheat and wheat products
Treatment options for treating wheat allergy in children:

Medical experts suggest the following treatments for curbing wheat allergy in children.

  • Eliminate wheat from your child’s diet.
  • Avoid oats, barley and rye which contain gluten. Children afflicted with wheat allergy have greater chances of having similar reactions when they resort to gluten products as well.
  • Avoid soups, gravies and sauces that contain wheat for thickening purposes.
  • Refrain from beer or root beers that contain wheat products too.
Preventive measures to cure wheat allergy in children:

Enable your child to manage the symptoms and reactions to wheat allergy as it can be as simple as a rash to as severe as a fatal anaphylaxis, which can cause serious conditions like low blood pressure, dizziness and/or breathing difficulties. Follow these tips to help your child get rid of wheat allergy though children outgrow such allergies with age and time:

  • Let friends, family and teachers know of your child’s allergic symptoms and how to deal with them.
  • Consult the dietician so as to provide tasty but healthy and wheat-free foods for your child.
  • Wheat nutrients are essential during the growth years of a child and vitamin B is as essential. Avoiding wheat products would mean depriving your little one of vitamin B. To make your child compensate for the loss of an essential vitamin, feed him or her with bananas, green vegetables, oranges, etc.
  • Discourage your child from sharing food with friends or other family members.
  • Prepare an action plan to manage your child’s allergic reactions and make him or her carry a list of things to be done in case of an emergency.

Wheat allergy is one of the rarest forms of allergy found in children. Yet children surrender to it easily as parents are constantly trying to feed their young ones with a healthy and nutritious diet like wheat and wheat products.

Now wheat contains a great deal of vitamins, carbohydrates, minerals like zinc and magnesium, and fiber which are considered essential for children during their development years. So, it is difficult to omit wheat as a supplement for health issues. However, when wheat allergy is detected and confirmed in your child, consult a doctor and find ways to help your child erase the symptoms of wheat allergy.