Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Do Your Charges Have Food Allergies?
January 5, 2012 a seven year old girl allergic to peanuts died of anaphylaxis because her school was not prepared for an allergic reaction. Being educated and equipped about food allergies can save a child’s life.
Ninety percent of allergic reactions occur due to cow’s milk, eggs, soy, wheat, nuts and seafood. Symptoms can range from mild, such as hives or a rash, to severe. If diarrhea, vomiting, fainting, swelling of the face, lips or tongue occurs call 911 immediately, as there may not be sufficient time to drive the child to the hospital yourself.
Even if the child has no known allergies they can develop at any time. Symptoms do not appear the first time a food is ingested, the body must first make antibodies that will react to the food the second time it is eaten or even later. For babies and toddlers it is best to introduce only one new food per week in order to easily identify foods that do cause symptoms.
If your charge has a known food allergy make sure it is not a hidden ingredient in prepackaged or restaurant foods. You will be surprised how many foods contain the above offenders; Chic-fil-a chicken is cooked in peanut oil, many cookies contain soy ingredients and yogurts designed specifically for babies use fish oil for its omega 3 properties. If an EpiPen has been prescribed in case of a severe reaction keep it handy at all times and know how to properly administer it.
Whether mild or severe, any kind of allergic reaction should be followed by a trip to the doctor so an emergency plan can be put in place.