Baby Steps: Recognizing food allergies in kids - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Baby Steps: Recognizing food allergies in kids


by Pam Warnke

WAUSAU (WAOW) -- Food allergies are a scary, yet realistic concern for parents. That's why it's important to know how to recognized if your child is reacting to certain foods and what to do about it.

Allergies are the body's response to certain proteins, foods, or stimulants.

There are telling signs your child may be allergic, but you have to know those signs to notice them.

Babies most commonly suffer from milk allergies. It makes sense, since infant diets consist solely of breastmilk or formula.

So if you notice things like vomiting, loose--sometimes even bloody stools--frequent coughing or wheezing, or a skin rash, it's time to see your doctor who can help guide you.

Dr. Christopher Brown is a gastroenterologoist at Aspirus Wausau Hospital.  He says, "For example, babies are typically started on a milk based formula, which is common form of formulas. Then, we would look towards transitioning them to soy, which is the other very common protein."

The same goes for starting on soy. Doctors may transition them to a more milk-based formula.

If there's a problem with breastmilk doctors will sometimes look towards the mother for answers and modify her diet.

Dr. Brown says, "Interestingly, even a breastfed infant can demonstrate signs of food allergy to some component of mothers diet."

Toddlers are open to a host of other allergies because their diets vary greatly as they learn to try and like new foods.

Milk and soy continue to rank high among toddler allergies.

But as eggs, grains, corn and peanuts come into play so do allergies to those foods.

Toddlers may show signs like rashes, wheezing, abdominal pain and sometimes vomiting.

Dr. Brown says if it's an allergy to the food, the treatment most often is elimination from the diet, but it helps to study the allergy closely to determine if it may be an allergy to a flavoring or seasoning on the food.

"It helps to be able to identify some of the specific allergens to because once you start eliminating these very common things, the diet can start becoming very, very restrictive," he says.

If you have concerns about your child because they seem to be reacting to a particular food your best bet is to take them to a doctor.

They know the best way to determine what's going on.

And often times what you may think is an allergy can turn out to be something more manageable, like an intolerance.

"With those, rather than the body developing a sort of immune response to that particular food, they're having some difficulties digesting it," says Dr. Brown.

If your family doctor can't help with an allergy situation, your child will likely be referred to a certified allergist.

And if your child is diagnosed, try to remain optimistic.

Many outgrow allergies as they get older.

Online Reporter: Pam Warnke

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