Children that have food allergies can have a tough time around their peers. Lots of kids have food allergies, about 3 million in the United States alone. It is good to talk with your children and make them aware of what foods to avoid and how to refuse food and safely eat when parents are not around. Role play a situation to give your child and example of how to respond and how to react and let them know that even a small amount of the food they are allergic to could cause a bad reaction.
“Hey, do you want some?” your friend asks as he offers you a mouthwatering homemade brownie. You’re tempted by the delicious dessert, but then you see the crushed peanuts on top. Darn! You’re allergic to peanuts. Maybe just one little bite?
Nope. If you have a food allergy, even a very tiny bit of that food can make you sick. It’s better to say “no, thanks” to the brownie and have a nut-free dessert.
If a kid with peanut allergy would have eaten that peanut-topped brownie, here’s what would happen. Antibodies to something in the food would cause mast cells (a type of immune system cell in the body) to release chemicals into the bloodstream. One of these chemicals is histamine.
The histamine then causes symptoms that affect a person’s eyes, nose, throat, respiratory system, skin, and digestive system. A person with a food allergy could have a mild reaction — or it could be more severe. An allergic reaction could happen right away or a few hours after the person eats it.
Some of the first signs that a person may be having an allergic reaction could be a runny nose, an itchy skin rash such as hives, or a tingling in the tongue or lips.
It’s important to remember that even though the doctor tests for food allergies by exposing you to a very small amount of the food, you should not try this at home! The best place for an allergy test is at the doctor’s office, where the staff is specially trained and could give you medicine right away if you had a serious reaction.
Food Allergies. (n.d.). Retrieved June 20, 2016, from http://kidshealth.org/en/kids/food-allergies.html#