Un­der­stand­ing the risk fac­tors for food al­lergy

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS -

THIS week we’re tak­ing a look at food al­ler­gies and in­tol­er­ances, how to know the dif­fer­ence, how long they last, risk fac­tors and how you can re­duce the risk of your child gain­ing an al­lergy.

A food al­lergy is when your im­mune sys­tem re­acts to cer­tain types of food as though it’s toxic and re­leases chem­i­cals, which can cause ma­jor prob­lems.

The most com­mon food al­ler­gies in­clude cow’s milk, hen’s eggs, soy­beans, peanuts, tree nuts (al­mond, brazil, cashew etc), se­same, wheat, fish and shell­fish.

Luck­ily most food al­ler­gies are not se­vere and many chil­dren will grow out of them.

In many cases your child may have a food in­tol­er­ance rather than an al­lergy.

This is when they have a re­ac­tion to food that’s not caused by the im­mune sys­tem, gen­er­ally less se­vere and some­times not im­me­di­ate.

Lac­tose in­tol­er­ance (dairy prod­ucts) as well as in­tol­er­ance to food ad­di­tives such as MSG are among the most com­mon, while wheat in­tol­er­ance is also com­mon (but be care­ful as wheat al­ler­gies are also com­mon).

This de­pends on the al­lergy, but most chil­dren will grow out of it.

Those chil­dren with milk, egg or soy­bean al­ler­gies of­ten will no longer have an is­sue in their teens, but those with al­ler­gies to peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shell­fish are likely to have a life­long al­lergy.

It’s im­por­tant not to ex­per­i­ment with al­ler­gies your­self.

If you want to see if your child has out­grown it, you should visit your GP.

As for food tol­er­ances, it’s much less cer­tain be­cause it de­pends on what food and the rea­son your child’s body is re­act­ing.

If you think they have out­grown it, then you can slowly rein­tro­duce it into their diet to check if it’s gone or you can check with your GP.

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