What Parents Need to Know About Food Allergies in 2019

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The world of food allergies is huge with so much information to remember all the time. Here is a quick guide of important food allergy information that all parents need to know. 

General Food Allergy Knowledge

What are the 8 most common allergies? 

The most common food allergies are: milk, wheat, peanuts, eggs, tree nuts, soy, fish, and shellfish. Those 8, known as the Big 8, are responsible for as much as 90 percent of food allergies in the United States. There are many other culprits of food allergies, even if they are uncommon. Some more uncommon food allergies are: meat, spices, gelatin, sulfites, sesame seeds, corn, sugar, fruit, and nitrates. 

How do you know if you are having an allergic reaction to food? 

Reactions to food allergies can vary from person to person. The mild to moderate reactions are:

  • Redness of the skin around the eyes or mouth

  • Hives, which are itchy, reddish skin bumps

  • Itchy, dry skin rash

  • Nasal congestion

  • Runny nose

  • Sneezing

  • Itchy mouth

  • Itchy ear canal

  • Strange taste in the mouth

  • Mild cough

  • Stomach pain

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Diarrhea

These symptoms are severe and can be life threatening. 

  • Difficulty swallowing

  • Throat, lips and/or tongue swelling that interferes with breathing

  • Shortness of breath

  • Turning a blue color

  • Wheezing

  • Blood pressure drop, which shows itself through confusion, weakness, feeling faint and passing out

  • Chest pain

  • A weak pulse

  • Losing consciousness

 Read more about the range of allergic reactions and the signs of allergic reactions

What happens to your body when you have a food allergy? 

Food allergies are caused by your immune system attacking a food protein. The body makes proteins called IgE antibodies to fight the food allergen. Whenever the food allergen is consumed, the body sends out the IgE antibodies to attack it. Reactions of food allergies come from certain chemicals released from the IgE antibodies attacking the food proteins.  

How long do food allergy symptoms last?/How long does an allergic reaction last? 

Reactions start a few minutes up to a few hours after consuming the food allergy. There are first symptoms of food allergies that happen for a few minutes or as long as two hours. Afterwards, there can be a second wave of symptoms that come back one to four hours later, or even longer. 

What causes food allergies? 

Currently, the cause of food allergies is unknown. There is research saying that genetic and environmental factors can develop food allergies. Family history plays a role in developing food allergies. Asthma is shown to have a correlation to allergies also.

Children and Food Allergies

How do I know if my child has a food allergy? 

If you child has reactions to a particular food, they might have a food allergy. The only way to know for sure is getting a food allergy test done.

What age do children develop food allergies? 

Food allergies can develop at any age. Roughly eighty to ninety percent of babies outgrow common food allergies by age five. 

What to do if a baby has an allergic reaction?/What do I do if my child has a food allergy? 

Call your doctor immediately to take steps to get an allergy test. If they are showing more troubling signs, like trouble breathing, welling on their face and lips, or severe vomiting or diarrhea, call 911 immediately. 

How do you prevent food allergies in babies? 

There is no sure way to prevent food allergies. Always talk to your doctor about forming a plan for your baby. It is universally accepted that parents should wait until the baby is six months old to start introducing food allergens. 

Can a food allergy cause diaper rash? 

Diaper rashes are not a direct sign of a food allergy. However, diarrhea due to food allergies can cause diaper rashes. If the allergen is in the stool, it can irritate a baby’s skin and cause diaper rash as well. 

Food Allergy Tests

How do you get tested for food allergies? 

There are two tests done by doctors to find food allergies, skin tests and blood tests. The most common skin test is called a scratch test where a doctor or nurse scratches the skin with liquid from an allergen on the back or forearm. If a skin test shows positive for a food allergy, doctors may want to do extra testing. 

Blood testing is the method used to diagnose food allergies for certain. The blood is checked for IgE antibodies for specific foods.

How much does it cost to get tested for food allergies? 

On average, skin tests can cost $60 up to $300. Blood tests can cost $200 up to $1,000 on average. It’s best to talk to your doctor and insurance to know the accurate costs. 

Should I get tested for food allergies? 

If you are having allergic reactions, contact your doctor immediately to set up a food allergy test. If you are not showing signs of allergic reactions, bring up the topic to your doctor and hear their recommendation. Food allergy tests are expensive and should be taken if you feel you have signs of food allergies. 


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Stef PenrodComment