It is no big surprise that concerns over food allergies are becoming a dominant part of parenthood. From the moment our little ones start eating their first solid foods, it us up to us to be diligent in monitoring for food allergies. Many of us are already aware of a few high-risk foods for infants, like peanuts and shellfish. But, what about the foods we don’t know about? Currently, there are at least 170 foods that have been reported as causing allergic reactions.
It is estimated that in America some 15 million people have food allergies, including nearly 6 million that are children. In every classroom with approximately 26 students, at least two of them have a food allergy. In addition, nearly one third children with known food allergies are allergic to more than one food.
Some food allergies can be very serious and even life threatening. Every three minutes, someone is admitted to the emergency room for an adverse food reaction. Children hospitalized for these reactions have tripled in recent years. Most food reactions occur when food is being eaten away from home.
It is very important to be vigilant in our knowledge of high risk foods, and to pass the knowledge on to our community, family members, daycare providers, and educators. Surprisingly, many of the foods are common staples in our household. Many of us have no idea of their potential risk to the babies and children in our lives.
Below we list 15 foods that you might shocked to learn are allergenic foods!
If you never thought much about giving your baby kiwi…listen up! In recent years the number of allergic reactions to kiwi in children has risen sharply. Unfortunately, the effects are huge and sometimes life threatening. The prevalence has been somewhat shocking, as adults with known kiwi allergies tend to suffer from mild reactions It seems that babies and children under the age of 5 are the highest risk for a serious adverse reaction to eating kiwi.
A study going on at South Hampton University revealed that as many as 40% of children with a kiwi allergy will have a life-threatening reaction to the fruit. In most cased, the child was dramatically affected after the first exposure. Many of these children also suffer from allergies to peanuts, milk, and eggs.
Experts say that the reason for the rise in kiwi allergy diagnosis is unclear, but it could be due to the increasing accessibility and prevalence of the fruit to the American public.
Pickles! How many kids do you know that don’t like pickles? Straight from the jar or plastered on your favorite hamburger. Perhaps even inserted into the mouth of teething baby? Nobody ever imagined that this quick and delicious snack could be dangerous for the kids that love them so much! Unfortunately, pickle allergies can appear suddenly even in children who previously tolerated them.
The reaction normally does not come from the pickle itself, but rather from the pickling process. It is usually the preservatives that are used in vinegar based recipes that cause the problem. The most common reactions are rash, wheezing, nausea, cramps, and diarrhea. Severe reactions can progress to anaphylaxis, coma, or even death.
Parents should know that if their child has an allergy to pickles, it is also very likely that the allergy will be mirrored in other pickled foods as well.
The optima of summer and childhood, eating watermelon is often a milestone in American families. Most of us don’t give much regard in feeding it to our little ones just starting to gnaw on finger foods. But, there is some room for hesitation, especially if you or your babe have obvious sensitivity to seasonal pollen, like ragweed. It is known that at least half of all people with known watermelon allergies are also allergic to ragweed. Watermelon can contain fragments of the ragweed pollen.
Watermelon allergies usually cause a reaction in the mouth, tongue and throat, such as itching and swelling. Severe reactions are rare, but intense swelling could result in breathing difficulty. Adverse reactions to watermelon are immediate.
It best to offer watermelon to babies during seasons when ragweed is not as prevalent. Generally, the fall season is the worst time for ragweed. For children with known watermelon allergies, parents should exercise caution when offering other melons, cucumbers, and other fruits that carry ragweed.
It’s not uncommon for many parents to reach for the ketchup when it comes to giving finger foods to babies and toddlers. Anything to get the picky eaters to consume something! But, if you are thinking about grabbing for the mustard…not so fast! While we might be on high alert for a mustard allergy in the USA, many other countries beg to differ. In fact, in the UK, mustard is one of 14 major allergens that must be declared on food labels. And in Europe, mustard allergies are a serious problem.
Whether mustard allergies are rare or common where you live, it is a wise allergen to consider when feeding your little one. The symptoms of a mustard allergy are severe and come on rapidly. Hives, tingling of the body, and an itchy mouth are sometimes accompanied by swelling of the face, difficulty breathing, severe asthma, and vomiting or diarrhea. It can even cause a sudden drop in blood pressure and unconsciousness.
You might not have heard of a sesame allergy yet, but it is becoming more common every year. Although it not yet ranked in the Top 8 allergenic foods in the US, in some countries like Israel, it is number 3 on the list. There it is nearly as common as a milk or egg allergy! The allergy alert is also included in Europe and Canada.
Symptoms of a sesame allergy typically include runny nose, irritation of the eyes, hives, and stomach problems. More intense reactions include swelling of the throat, difficulty breathing, and anaphylaxis.
As it becomes more common on the allergy list, it is important for parent and childcare workers to be aware of the risk and how to respond in an emergency. This type of allergy generally responds well to an EpiPen injection in an emergency. For milder reactions, an antihistamine and skin testing is appropriate. With known allergies, avoidance may be the best solution.
You might not think that your baby or child is likely to consume parsley, but the it is a common ingredient in many soups, sauces, and salads. All parts of the plant are used in often in natural medicine, but for some it can be mildly allergic. Symptoms include skin reactions, tingling sensation in and around the mouth, breathlessness, and chest pain. Dizziness, abnormal heart rate, yellowing skin, dark or painful urination, hallucinations, deafness, and paralysis have also been reported.
Normally, we don’t give a lot of thought to herbs as a potential source of allergies in our babies. But, if you or your child suffer from season allergies, listen up! Symptoms like watery eyes and itchy throat during season changes can be aggravated by lesser known food allergies. Even in those who are not allergic to Parsley, it might be noticed that exposure to it amplifies the effects of seasonal allergies.
If you always thought spinach was the ultimate in healthy food choices, you wouldn’t be the only one. But, it turns out all those baby foods that include spinach might not be such a good idea after all! Many experts will agree that spinach is better off introduced after 10 months of age, partially due to the risk of allergic reactions and sensitivity to nitrates.
Store bought baby food containing spinach is thought to be safer than homemade spinach, as the FDA regulates the safe number of nitrates allowed to be present. Doing the same at home would likely be very difficult or impossible.
An allergy to Spinach is relatively rare, but the adverse reactions when it does occur can be quite severe. Severe abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, severe burning rash, wheezing, chest pain, difficulty breathing, and generalized swelling of the body are all potential side effects of an allergic reaction to spinach. Repeated exposure to spinach in persons with allergies can increase the chances of gout.
Allergies to celery do not currently have a high occurrence in the USA, but experts say the numbers are rising. In European nations, celery allergies account for as much as 40% of food allergies. Most reactions occur after eating raw celery, but some people can also be allergic to the roots which are often used in spices. Some people are allergic to both the raw and cooked versions.
Allergic reactions to celery are considered some of the most severe when compared with other fresh vegetables. Usually the symptoms are related to irritation of the oral cavity or to skin rash, but more severe cases can occur affecting the nose, lungs, and stomach. Sometimes the reactions can be life threatening.
When an allergy is present, parents must be extra cautious with spice mixes, soups, broths, and salad dressings which make contain celery salt or celery powder. If you suspect an allergy, skin and blood testing can be done to confirm the negative reaction.
7 Raw Fruits
If you notice a reaction in your child to raw fruit, you may be witnessing an allergic reaction. Especially if you notice complaints of an itchy mouth, lips, or throat they be experiencing what is referred to as a silver- birch pollen allergy. While this type of allergy used to be rare, the prevalence has steadily increased in the past twenty years. About 1/3 of people with this reaction go on to develop OAS, Oral Allergy Syndrome. This allergy it related to the almond and varieties of trees related to the rose family. Some of these fruits are apples, plums, peaches, nectarines, and kiwi.
Luckily, the same fruits can still be still be enjoyed so long as they are not eaten in the fresh form. Once they have been cooked or processed, the allergen is removed. Stewed, canned, steamed, baked, or dried fruits seem to be just fine.
Many of us are aware of shellfish allergies and how dangerous they can be. But, what about other fish allergies? Usually these are unrelated to shellfish, and rarely come under a blanket allergy for all fish. It is not uncommon for a person to only be allergic to a specific variety of fish. The most common fish allergies are to cod, mackerel, tuna, and salmon.
Some people only have a reaction to spoiled fish. This is usually a histamine based reaction that includes wheezing, swelling, or hives. If your child is having a first-time reaction to fish, consider if the fish might have been spoiled. Then, follow up with a skin allergy test.
When a fish allergy is present, it is usually recommended to only eat safe fish when prepared at home. Cross contamination with other fish is highly likely at restaurants and open markets.
Other dishes to be wary of are: paella, bouillabaisse, gumbo, fristo misto, fruits de mar, surimi, Caesar dressing, caponato, and Gentleman’s relish.
5 Tree Nuts
Tree Nut allergies are the second most common allergy among infants and children. They are also a common allergen reported to cause death or near fatal reactions. Although most people carry the allergy for the duration of their life, approximately 9% of children will outgrow it by adulthood. Even trace amounts of tree nut may prove fatal.
Peanuts are not tree nuts, but are often avoided for precaution in children with tree nut allergies. Tree nuts include but are not limited to almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, chestnuts, coconuts, hazel nuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, walnuts, beechnut, bush nut, butter nut, filbert, gingko nut, lychee nut, nangai nut, and shea nut.
You might not realize that these food items also contain nuts: nougat, marzipan, mortadella, mandelonas, Nutella, and pesto.
Although coconut is considered a tree nut, most people with tree nut allergies can safely eat them. In fact, coconut allergies are quite rare. But, each person should consult with their dietician before including or eliminating coconut from their diet.
Wheat is a grain that been shown to cause allergic reactions. We are not sure how common it is in children, but we do know that is the allergy is present. When a wheat allergy is discovered, all forms of it must be avoided. Most of us know that wheat is present in many baked items and pastas. It is also found in many cereals, crackers and flours. Did you know that is also present in couscous, bulgar, malt, matzo, and wheatgrass?
Wheat is also found in artificial and natural flavors, caramel coloring, and personal care items.
Many people associate Celiac Disease with wheat allergies. The disease and an allergy are not the same thing. Celiac Disease is an autoimmune digestive disease, but an allergy in an immediate immune system reaction.
With a wheat allergy, there is a 20% chance that allergies to other grains will be present. If so, the most the allergy will most likely be mirrored with corn, oats, barely or rice allergies.
Many of think of soy as a great alternative to animal milk, especially when there is a milk allergy. But, soy is not always the best option for babies and kids. In fact, soy allergies are more common than genuine milk allergies in American children. Luckily, most children do outgrow the allergy by the age of 10.
Kids with soy allergies must avoid all types of soy. This includes anything with soy in the name like soy milk, soy sauce, soy beans, soy nuts, soy butter, etc. In addition, soy is also present in bean curd, edamame, miso, tofu, sprouts, teriyaki sauce, and many other food products. Soy is also commonly found in Chinese, Japanese, and Thai foods. It is also frequently used in baked goods, artificial flavoring, lecithin, and vegetable broth.
There are a few soy based food items that are considered safe for those with a soy allergy. Those are soy oil and vegetable oil.
Most of us have heard of lactose intolerance, although we don’t expect to see this complications with babies! The interesting thing is that a milk allergy is not actually the same thing as lactose intolerance. The negative symptoms with think of like stomach pain, gas, and diarrhea are signs of intolerance and are relatively rare in babies. A true milk allergy is when the body rejects milk as a foreign substance and in turn releases a chemical called histamine. During this allergic reaction symptoms are more likely to include wheezing or vomiting, and sometimes diarrhea.
If it turns out that your baby is allergic to milk, she may also be allergic to other dairy products or foods that contain milk proteins. It’s might be a good idea to exercise caution with yogurt, butter, ice cream, cheese, cream, custard, and all forms of milk including buttermilk, powdered milk and evaporated milk.
Can you imagine that eggs are the second most common food allergy among babies and children? This can be an especially tough allergy to live with, as children with an egg allergy must avoid ALL types and parts of the egg. The reason for this is because the egg allergy comes from a sensitivity to the egg white, which is impossible to separate from the yolk. The egg allergy is an extremely sensitive one and all traces of egg must be avoided.
FDA regulated foods must disclose when a product contains egg. However, there are many alternative names for egg ingredients and a long list of unregulated food products that may contain them. It would come in handy to print off a list of these hidden egg ingredients. It is important to know that egg substitutes like Egg Beaters, are not safe for people with egg allergies. These products still contain egg.