Every year, millions of people in the United States have an allergic reaction to food, many of those are children. And while many allergies cause minor symptoms, others will cause some pretty severe symptoms.

Food allergies affect about five percent of children in the United States. A food allergy occurs when the body’s immune system triggers an abnormal response to a particular food. Symptoms from a food allergy can range from a sneezing fit to congestion to a life-threatening response that impairs breathing and sends the body into a state of shock.

There is no cure for food allergies. The only way to keep from suffering the symptoms of a food allergy is by not eating that particular kind of food. It sounds easy enough, but this isn’t always the case. There are other measures that can be taken to ensure food allergies won’t occur. River Valley Pediatrics, your pediatric clinic in New Braunfels, offers ways to live well with food allergies.

Avoid Cross-Contamination

Cross-contamination or contact occurs when an allergen is transferred from one food to another. This often happens when a food with an allergen is placed directly on a food that is not an allergen. For example, placing a slice of cheese on a burger.

If you are using the same utensil to flip the cheeseburgers and the hamburgers, you could unintentionally transfer an allergen.

There are several ways you can avoid cross-contact with allergens.

Clean cookware– Clean all of your cookware, including utensils and stove top after each use.

Cook safe foods first– This will ensure unsafe foods aren’t splashed on safe foods.

Purge your kitchen– Make sure your kitchen is free form whatever food you are allergic to.

Read Food Labels

It might get a little tedious and it might be only slightly less boring than reading Swann’s Way, but it is important that you read food labels. You might not think that one would find peanuts in a jar of olives, but it can happen if both foods are processed at the same plant.

Know Your Symptoms

If you have a food allergy, being able to spot the symptoms of a reaction early on is critical. In fact, it could save your life. Allergic reactions to food allergies include itching eyes, itching and red skin, runny nose, sneezing, chest tightness, swelling of the tongue, slow heartbeat and nausea. If you are experiencing any of these conditions shortly after eating and you suspect it’s an allergic reaction, get help right away.

Have a Plan

If you know that you have a life-threatening food allergy, have a plan of what to do should you suffer a reaction. This could be anything from using an EpiPen to calling 911.

Know How to Use an EpiPen

It is essential that you know how to use an EpiPen, especially if you have a child with a food allergy. It can be helpful to watch videos on how to administer injection when a child starts showing signs of food allergies.

If you have any questions about your children and food allergies, contact River Valley Pediatrics today.