Food Allergies

What is a food allergy?

A food allergy is when a bodies immune system targets food protein, an allegern, which is a threat then attacks it causing a food allergy.

There are eight common food allergies, which include: eggs, soy, wheat, fish, shellfish, milk, tree nuts, and peanuts.

Below is a video that explains the process of the immune system being attacked, causing a allergic reaction.

Causes  

Food allergies occur when the body's immune system overreacts to substances in food you have eaten, triggering an allergic reaction. Food allergies are more common in younger children than adults.

Symptoms include:

  • Hives (swollen itchy areas on the skin)
  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Nasal congestion
  • Itchy mouth
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy rash (Eczema)
  • Diarrhea

Severe symptoms:

  • Severe swelling of the lips, tongue, and throat
  • Shortness of breath or wheezing
  • Chest pain
  • Drop in blood pressure ( fainting, confusion, and passing out)
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Turning blue

What to do if you or a child is having a food allergy reaction:

See a doctor or pediatrician immediately. Get tested by doctor to be diagnosed.

Testing includes: A medical history check, physical examination, asked about frequent foods eaten, symptoms, time between food eaten and reaction. Also, skin test include a small amount of food extract is placed on the arm or back to see if it triggers a reaction after 20 minutes. There are no cures for food allergy.

How to avoid life threatening food reaction:

Own a Epinephrine Auto-injector (EpiPen). The epinephrine is an adrenaline self injector that reserve and slows down the reaction. It is recommended to own and carry two Epinephrine Auto-Injector at any given time

The increasing number of children being diagnosed of food allergies

There is not a direct cause of  increase in food allergies among children, but according to case studies women who intake a large amount of peanuts, nuts, etc.. during pregnancy their offspring has a lower risk of receiving a nut allergy.

Teaching strategies

At some point, a teacher will come across a child in his or her classroom who has a food allergy. It is a teachers job to be aware of that students allergy and aware of the surrounding environment strategies may include:

  • Asking the parents or guardian if that child has any food allergies in the beginning of the year via email, or a class handout.
  • Rewarding the students without treats may  include erasers, stickers, pencils,  and bookmarks. Rewarding the whole class with items that do not include food and treats allows the student who has food allergy not feel left out.
  • Tell coworkers and staff that the child has this food allergy just in case anything were to happen.
  • Practice food allergy plans, so when a food reaction occurs the plan has effectiveness.
  • Inform the family a field trip is coming up and discuss how to manage the food allergy.  
  • Inform to the class and students what food allergies are and the symptoms that could occur during a reaction, so he or she can notify an adult.

Resources for families and the community

This site includes all the information about food allergies.

If you or the child is having Anaphylaxis reaction call 9-1-1 immediately.

This website includes information how to live with a child who has food allergies.

More facts:

  • Food allergy affects 15 million people in the United states including, 1 of 13 children.
  • The cost of a children who have food allergies is roughly $25 billion dollars.
  • Every three minutes, a food reaction sends someone to the Emergency room.

                                                           References

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. (2015). Food Allergies. Retrieved from wwwaaaai.org

Brody, J. E. (2014, Feburary). As Peanut Allergies Rise, Trying to Determine a Cause.  Retrieved from http://well.blogs.nytimes.com

Food Allergy Research & Education, Inc. (2015). About Food Allergies. Retrieved from www.foodallergy.org

National Institute of Allergy Institute Infectious Diseases. (2013,August 6).Understanding Food Allergy. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/wa.tch?v=AKVjKC3u9hK

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