Today Show: Food Allergen Guidelines
Do you know when it is recommended you try feeding your child high allergy foods such as peanuts or dairy? It is a tough question to answer but Dr. Alanna Levine, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics, said there are some new guidelines in 2013 that are going to let you know when your child should try certain foods.
Dr. Levine said for some time the suggestion was to wait as long as possible before introducing high allergy foods into a child’s diet, but as of 2008 and 2011 the American Academy of Pediatrics has revised those suggestions. They recommended not waiting to feed your child any types of foods. They are telling parents to introduce all types of foods as early as the age of six. The reason behind this new shift in thinking, according to Dr. Levine, is that there is no science to back up the claim that delaying the introduction of high allergy food into a child’s diet will protect them at all.
Dr. Levine suggested starting with “easy foods,” like green vegetables and working peanuts and dairy slowly into the child’s diet. She also suggested doing all this at home just in case there is a reaction to the foods.
Today Show: Signs Of a Food Allergy
Dr. Levine said there are lots of signs your child has a food allergy. Reactions can vary from subtle to severe, so Dr. Levine suggested watching your child closely when introducing a new food. Some of the signs of a food allergy are below:
- Splotchy skin
- Difficulty breathing
- Swelling throat
Today Show: Food Allergy Tests While Pregnant
One woman wrote in to the Today Show asking if there was some type of test she could have done with her child while she is still pregnant. Although there are no tests for allergies while a woman is pregnant, Dr. Levine said allergies have a genetic component meaning if someone in the family has a food allergy, it is likely the child could as well.
She also added that food allergies are on the rise and one of the theories behind this recent spike in food allergies is the notion that we live in such a clean environment our immune systems have started reacting to things that are harmless in our environment.