Food Allergies In Children: Learn How To Prevent Them & Unexpected Health Hazards In Teens With Food Allergies
If you are the parent of an infant, then you may worry that they will develop a food allergy later in life. This is a valid concern, because between the years of 1997 and 2007, the prevalence of food allergies in children 18 and under increased by 18 percent in the United States. However, don't think that you just have to "wait and see" if they become one of the many children in the United States who suffers from at least one food allergy, because you can take steps to prevent them and the hazards associated with them.
Read on to learn how to decrease the chance that your young child will develop food allergies later in life and the unexpected health hazards associated with these allergies.
Food Allergy Prevention: Tips
Research has shown that the best way to prevent food allergies in children is to include foods that are potentially allergenic in their diets often from the time they are around four to six months of age until they reach the age of five. Studies have shown that including peanuts in a child's diet on a regular basis during this stage of life lowered the chance of a child developing a peanut allergy by about 80 percent.
However, since there are many more foods that your child can eventually become allergic to, such as wheat, dairy products, and eggs, it is also important to introduce these foods into your child's diet during the same time frame.
In addition, if you are expecting another child or plan to have another in the future, keep in mind that when an expectant mother eats a diet filled with foods that children are prone to developing allergies to (if she is not allergic to them, of course), this can also reduce the chance that your "baby on the way" will experience food allergies later in life.
Unexpected Health Hazards of Food Allergies in Teens
While you may understand that if your child develops an allergy to a food, accidentally consuming the food could cause health effects that range from hives, itchy eyes, and other mild symptoms to full-blown anaphylaxis that endangers their life. However, researchers are just now realizing that when children with food allergies reach their teenage years, they may be more prone to developing mental health symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, or even ADHD.
The reasons for these mental health symptoms in teenagers with food allergies vary, but it could be due to them feeling left out when friends are imbibing in treats they cannot consume or just a sense of "feeling different" when they are in the stage of life when they just want to "fit in" with their peers.
If you have a young child and/or have a baby "on the way," then realize that there are steps you can take to help keep your child from developing food allergies later in life. However, if you have a teenager who already has food allergies, be sure to not only monitor their physical health, but also their mental health and report any signs of depression, anxiety, or ADHD to the pediatricians you work with.