What you should do about food allergy symptoms

April 19, 2010 by  
Filed under ALLERGIES

Do you have a child with food allergy? Do you know what to do in case of severe allergic reactions? An Australian study indicates that many parents with children with food allergies are actually unprepared to act accordingly in case their kids develop allergic symptoms.

According to a study involving preschool children in Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), Australian parents may actually be short on food (e.g. peanut and other nuts) allergy awareness. Some figures that came out from the study are:

  • 3.8% of 5-year old children in the region have a history of peanut allergy.
  • 94% of local schools are aware of their pupils’ allergies.
  • 76% of these schools have a management procedure in place to mitigate allergic-related situations.

The study revealed some points that caused major concerns. The parents of children in this age group seem to lack the awareness of how to deal with allergic reactions.

According to Professor Marjan Kljakovic of the ANU Medical School:

“The study showed two things of concern. The first is that action on food allergy was influenced by the level of worry the parent had about their child’s allergy. In other words, the less worried parents were about food allergies, the less likely they were to observe their child having symptoms and to act on them.

The second concern is that some parents reacted inappropriately following seeing their child having an allergic reaction to peanut. In such cases, it is not appropriate to ‘watch and wait for the reaction to subside’, ‘induce vomiting in the child’ or ‘apply calamine lotion to the skin’, as some parents seemed to think.”

So what are the symptoms of food allergy?

According to Medicine.net:

  • Itchiness in the mouth
  • Difficulty in swallowing and breathing
  • Rashes, hives or eczema
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain

Allergic reaction manifesting in all of the above in severe forms is called anaphylactic reaction which is life-threatening.

The Australian study identified the following common mistakes of parents in handling allergic reactions:

  • Watching and waiting for the symptoms to subside.
  • Inducing the child to vomit
  • In the case of skin reactions, applying calamine lotion to the skin.

The recommended correct line of action is:

  • Administration of oral antihistamines which are available over-the counter.
  • If the child develops severe anaphylactic reaction, he or she should be taken to the doctor immediately. an adrenalin auto-injector is necessary.

Additional resources:

Take the Food Allergy Screening Quiz.

Info on Anaphylaxis on Severe Allergic Reaction

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.