Allergy Facts and Fiction
By Dr. Tara Kompare, Pharm.D. - The Medicine Mom
Allergy Facts and Fiction
time for Holiday feasts has passed once again. Juicy turkeys stuffed
with care and Grandmas homemade pumpkin pie undoubtedly had
your name written all over them. Then there is always the mystery
dish that no one wants to take credit for. And, most alarmingly,
no one knows what is in it.
most of us, its okay if we happen to dive into a desert that
just happens to be laced with peanuts. But, for those unfortunate
few with food allergies, these surprises can bring more than bad
tastethey can cause a full-blown emergency.
order to help you better understand food allergies, and how they
relate to children, I thought it would be best to separate the facts
If your child is allergic to a certain food, you will know right
Fact: Our bodies do not produce an allergic response to a substance
until we have encountered that same substance before. So, your child
could have eaten a peanut butter and jelly sandwich every day for
the last three years and then, all of a sudden break out in a full
blown rash from one little peanut found in his trail mix. This is
why food allergies, and allergies in general, are so hard to diagnose.
The most common symptoms of a food allergy include:
and tightness in throat
If your child ever experiences any of the above symptoms or any
warmth, flushing and/or throat tingling, you need to call his or
her doctor right away. Although it is rare, anaphylactic-type reactions
leading to dangerous drops in blood pressure can occur and require
immediate medical attention.
Children will eventually outgrow their food allergies.
Although many kids will outgrow their allergies to foods, some may
not. Those whom are allergic to tree nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews,
etc.) have only a 9% chance of outgrowing their allergy while those
allergic to peanuts have a higher chance at 20%. The good news is
that approximately 85% of children allergic to cows milk,
soy, wheat, and egg will outgrow their allergy by the time they
Food allergies only occur in children whose parents have food allergies.
Fact: Just because you and your spouse do not suffer from food allergies
does not mean your child will be spared. Although there is a strong
hereditary link associated with the development of allergies, there
is still a 10 to 15% chance that a child can develop a food allergy
despite a negative family history.
There are tests that predict what exactly your child is allergic
While there are a variety of tests available, none are 100% accurate.
The blood allergen test, known as RAST, often results in false positive
reactions. This means that the test may say your child is allergic
to a certain food or substance when, in fact, they are not. Evaluating
a child for food allergies can be a complicated process and usually
involves a combination of blood tests, skin tests, and keeping a
you have a child that suffers from food allergies, family feasts
can turn your stomach in knots. This is because it becomes your
responsibility to rake everyone through the coals about the ingredients
used to prepare each dish. But dont be shy. Speak up and,
if they are the loving relatives they should be, they will totally
(Parent Sanity Saver): If you have a child who suffers from severe
allergic reactions, it may be best if you host the holiday dinners
at your house. This way you can be in charge of what's for dinner.
author is a doctor of pharmacy and mother of two amazing little
girls. You can visit her website at www.themedicinemom.com
or e-mail her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
information presented on this site is intended solely as a general
educational aid, and is neither medical nor healthcare advice for
any individual problem, nor a substitute for medical or other professional
advice and services from a qualified healthcare provider familiar
with your unique circumstances. Always seek the advice of your physician
or other qualified healthcare professional regarding any medical
condition and before starting any new treatment.