Though we try to teach our children to eat healthy, get plenty of exercise, and sleep well - all the things we should be doing, this is not always easy. Not only are children faced with obesity issues in this country today, but there is also an increase in food allergies.
Allergies of any kind are on the increase for many reasons. Some are airborne, others ingested. Foods that may not have caused allergic reactions in the past, may affect children and adults differently in our changing world, without explanation and often undiagnosed. Climate and chemicals affect what we eat and feed our children.
While genetic inheritance is a factor in the development of allergies, avoiding the early introduction of potentially allergenic food is the basic step in the primary prevention of food allergies in children who are at high risk.
Children whose parents both have allergies have about a 40 to 70 percent chance of developing allergies themselves. The risk drops to 20 to 30 percent if only one parent has allergies, and it goes down to 10 percent if neither parent is allergic. Protecting children from food allergies begins as early as pregnancy. Many expecting mothers avoid eating any foods to which other family members are allergic; this may reduce the risk of their newborn developing food allergies.
Food allergies often go undetected and untreated for too long, as some of the symptoms closely resemble other ailments. Some symptoms of food allergies include: itching, stuffy nose, wheezing, hives, watery or red eyes, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, and fussiness. A food allergy can be so severe that any contact with the allergen will cause immediate swelling of the lips, tongue, and throat. In many cases, eczema (a skin rash) is the only sign of a food allergy and may get overlooked. If your infant or child is suffering from any these symptoms, consult your pediatrician, as it may be an indication of a food allergy.
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2012 THE ALCHEMY OF TIME