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Healthy Diet Plans >>  Health Issues and Diet >>  Allergies

Allergy Symptoms

An allergy is a misguided reaction of the body’s immune system to certain foreign substances it comes in contact with. This is a misguided reaction as these are harmless substances and remain so when they come into contact with people who are non-allergic. However, when these substances come in contact with a person who is allergic to them, the body releases chemicals that trigger of allergic symptoms. Substances that cause allergy are known as “allergens”. Allergy symptoms in children could be triggered off by different allergens, depending on what a particular child is allergic to.

Allergy symptoms in babies are quite varied, and it becomes difficult to isolate them.

Allergens can be grouped into three categories: inhalants, foods/medicines, and environmental factors. In the case of foods, some of the top foods that cause allergy symptoms in toddlers and children are dairy products, gluten, peanuts, soy, corn, tree nuts, and egg. Let us look at some of the foods that cause allergy symptoms in children. If your child has an allergy to the foods listed below he/she may exhibit one, or in most cases, many symptoms from the list of food allergy symptoms given below.

  • Gluten allergy symptoms in children could be mood swings and agitation, eczema, radical weight change, headaches, joint pain, fatigue, diarrhea or constipation, and depression. Children with gluten sensitivity may have dental problems and could experience slow growth.
  • Egg allergy symptoms usually seen are eczema, swelling, flushing, hives, diarrhea, belly pain, itching near the mouth, vomiting, wheezing, running nose, difficulty breathing, low blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, or heart problems.
  • Soy allergy symptoms may include vomiting, irritability, diarrhea, rhinitis, colic-like symptoms, dermatitis and reflux.
  • Peanut allergy symptoms include skin reactions, tingling or itchiness in the throat area, chest constriction, stuffiness in the nose or wheezing.

Allergy Causes

An allergy is our immune system’s hyperactive response to certain “foreign substances” that it comes in contact with. These foreign substances are known as allergens, and they could range from drugs and dust to food and pollen. Allergy causes and symptoms could vary from person to person. These symptoms could be anything from mild to moderate to severe, and it is very important for a person to know his/her allergy causes and risk factors.  Let us take a look at a few allergy causes.

  • Peanut allergy causes: Doctors have yet to find out the exact cause of an individual’s allergy to peanuts. No matter what the cause of the allergy is, one needs to remember that a peanut allergy can sometimes be fatal. In some cases, simply being touched by a person who has held peanuts will cause an allergic reaction.
  • Gluten allergy causes: Gluten allergies are quite rare. One may categorize a wheat allergy or celiac disease as a gluten allergy, which is not the case. People may have an allergy to wheat, but are not allergic to the gluten present in wheat. Gluten allergy causes are not known to medical researchers as yet.
  • Nut allergy causes: Certain proteins present in nuts trigger off the release of a compound called histamine in the body. This histamine helps counteract the effect of these proteins. The reaction is caused due to histamine being released in our body.
  • Milk allergy causes: Milk allergy causes are mainly genetic.

Allergy Treatment

Allergy treatment depends on the cause of the allergy. If you are looking for allergy treatment for children or for yourself here are a few tips.

  • The best treatment for allergies is avoidance. The best thing that you could do is to stay away from whatever triggers your allergy.
  • In case of an allergy to dust and pollen, allergy treatment shots are an option. The patient is given a series of injections containing small amounts of the offending allergen. This treatment is based on the body’s antibody mechanism, and in some cases the symptoms are totally eliminated.
  • Allergy treatment for toddlers could be avoidance, but if this does not work, you may have to check with your doctor and give your toddler some allergy medications.
  • If your toddler’s allergy is caused due to pollen, make sure your child is kept indoors in the morning. In case of a nasal allergy, try applying some chamomile herb oil to clear the congestion.
  • A natural allergy treatment for toddlers suffering from diarrhea caused by some food allergy is grated apple or rice water.
  • If you are unable to get your allergies under control, it is best that you get in touch with an allergy specialist.

Allergy Diet

Doctors sometimes design an elimination allergy diet plan to figure out what foods you are allergic to. You are expected to strictly adhere to this allergy diet plan for about a month and keep a track of an improvement in symptoms such as skin rash, congestion, joint pain, illness, discomfort and so on. Beverages and foods that are suspect are eliminated from your diet. The doctor then adds these foods back to your diet gradually to find out if you are allergic to them. It is important to keep in mind that certain food allergies are usually delayed and persist for some time even after eliminating the allergic substances. It is therefore best to follow the elimination and provocation method to be absolutely sure that your diagnosis is correct. It is extremely important that you adhere to the allergy diet menu prescribed by your doctor. Once the cause of your allergy is detected you can, with the help of a dietitian, design an allergy diet plan to take care of it. Also make sure you check the ingredients on the label before using a product. You may have to customize your own allergy diet recipes so that the offending food is left out of your allergy diet plan. A gluten allergy diet plan leaves out grains such as rye and wheat from your meals. Gluten is found in a number of drink and food products, which should be avoided. Always check if the products you buy are gluten free. In case of soy allergy, you will have to eliminate soy products such as soy flour, soy curds, soybean granules, tofu, tempeh, and soy sauce from your meals. For those with a peanut allergy, avoid peanuts in any form, be it peanut oil, artificial nuts, or sweets that contain peanuts.

Submitted on January 16, 2014