Food Allergy: Tips of Caution
by Ren Chats
• Do not ignore strongly positive allergy test to a food that child has never been exposed to.
It may pose high risk to the child in future.
• Severe reactions on subsequent exposures can follow initial mild reactions to an allergen; for example peanut allergy.
• Besides eating, food allergens can initiate allergic reaction through inhalation, skin contact, eyes and cross contact through toys etc. Very minute quantity of allergen is enough to trigger severe allergic reaction.
• Other health disorders, atopic diseases, previous allergic reactions, and allergies to foods (milk, egg, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, soya, wheat, sesame and other seeds) pose potential risk factors for severe anaphylaxis.
• 25% of the anaphylaxis in children occur as the first evidence of food allergy.
Request the key person in charge of your child to watch for food allergy even if she is not known to be allergic to any food.
• Children below 6 years of age have more chances of food-induced anaphylaxis.
• Most food allergy associated medical emergencies occur when child is away from home and parents.
• Food allergy can also occur while travelling and on excursions. Supervising staff should therefore be adequately trained in primary management of allergic episode, and should have means to instantly activate emergency medical services.
• Besides food allergy, children may experience allergic reactions secondary to insect bite, medications, exercise, environmental allergens, contact with latex and cold or heat stress. Whereas at times the offending allergen can never be identified, but prompt medical care becomes essential.
• Children with asthma need to be observed closely, because they deteriorate fast with an episode of food allergy. Only prompt and efficient medical emergency management can prevent untoward outcome.
• Teenagers who experience food allergy are more likely to progress into life threatening anaphylaxis.