According to data from the Spanish Society of Clinical Immunology, Allergology and Pediatric Asthma (SEICAP), between 4% and 8% of school-age children in Spain have one or more food allergies. This pathology is expected to affect more than 50% of Europeans in the next 10 years, according to experts.
We tell you which are the most common food allergies in babies and children.
What is a food allergy?
The Spanish Association of Pediatrics (AEPED) defines it as a harmful reaction that is triggered by food. It occurs because the immune system of the allergic patient overreacts to a food that is tolerated by the rest of the people.
For this reason, some of these food allergies disappear as the child grows older and their immune system is stronger and able to tolerate all foods.
These types of allergies appear during the first years of the child's life when he consumes certain foods, and they manifest immediately with:
Skin symptoms, such as hives and swelling.
Digestive symptoms, such as abdominal pain, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Respiratory symptoms, such as acute rhinitis or shortness of breath.
Therefore, prevention and observation are essential to avoid serious consequences, so if you detect any of the aforementioned symptoms, you should take the child to the specialist to have the appropriate tests and examinations performed, and thus know if any specific food affects him.
The most common food allergies
There are certain foods that appear frequently when it comes to a food reaction.
Allergy to cow's milk
This is the most common food allergy in babies. It manifests itself during the first year of life when the mother replaces her milk with an adapted cow's milk formula.
The symptoms may appear immediately or after a few hours after ingesting milk. They include urticaria, asthma or rhinitis, conjunctivitis, vomiting, diarrhea or anaphylaxis, among others.
This type of allergy is diagnosed by detecting the specific immunoglobulin E against milk and its proteins, through blood tests and skin tests.
An egg allergy usually appears the first time the child eats the egg white, because the amount of protein it contains is higher than that of the yolk.
Its symptoms can be mild (itching in the mouth or throat, accompanied by red spots around the mouth) or something more serious, such as vomiting, decomposition, difficulty breathing and anaphylaxis.
It is the third most common allergy in young children. You may be allergic to just one type of fish, to a family of fish, or to all types of fish.
Unlike a milk or egg allergy, a fish allergy can last a lifetime.
Among its symptoms we can find itching of the mouth or pharynx, with or without redness or hives around the mouth, as well as swelling of the lips, eyelids or ears.
Shellfish allergy is not the same as fish allergy, as they are different foods. If the child has an allergy to shellfish, it does not mean that he also has it to fish, or vice versa.
There are three groups of shellfish:
Crustaceans (prawns, crayfish, crabs and the like).
Cephalopods (squid, cuttlefish or octopus).
Shell mollusks (mussels, clams and the like).
The allergy between each group of shellfish is usually independent, although it is recommended to avoid its general consumption.
This allergy presents the following symptoms: cough, breathing problems, inflammation of the mouth, hives, abdominal pain, among others.
Allergy to cereals
Cereals can produce an allergy other than celiac disease, and occur against a single cereal, several or all.
The symptoms of allergy cereals are urticaria, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing and anaphylaxis.
The allergy to nuts usually appears in ages from 3 or 4 years.
If the child has this allergy, it is essential to check the food labels, since many of them may contain pieces or be some of the ingredients.
The nuts that tend to give the most allergies are peanuts, walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts.
The symptoms are generally the same as those of the previous allergies, although in some cases they can be accompanied by inflammation of the tongue and conjunctivitis.
As we have already mentioned, before any symptoms, go to the pediatrician as soon as possible to avoid future problems in the immune system or in the child's intestine.
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