The Symptoms of Food Allergies in Children

It's very common for food allergies to be confused with food intolerances. However, they're two completely different conditions. Discover the symptoms of food allergies in children here!
The Symptoms of Food Allergies in Children

Last update: 15 October, 2019

Food allergies are immune system reactions caused by eating certain foods. Depending on the type, a person can suffer from some symptoms or others. For example, in some patients, swelling of body areas will be more noticeable, while redness will be most obvious in others. Generally, dermatitis is one of the most common signs of food allergies in children.

During childhood, it’s important for parents to be aware of their children’s reactions to different foods, as they’ll be able to take them to a doctor to be diagnosed in time. It’s worth mentioning that experts recommend not medicating children without consulting their pediatrician first, because attempting to relieve a discomfort could hide one or more symptoms and aggravate the problem.

The symptoms of food allergies in children

Food allergies aren’t easy to diagnose. Therefore, you must take your child to their pediatrician. In some cases, the expert can refer your query to an allergist for further case assessment.

The Symptoms of Food Allergies in Children

Here are some of the symptoms of food allergies in children:

  • Digestive symptoms. Vomiting, diarrhea, malabsorption, esophagitis, intestinal bleeding, gastritis, colic, gastroesophageal reflux, or constipation.
  • Respiratory symptoms. Rhinitis, cough, or asthma.
  • Skin symptoms. Erythema, urticaria or hives, or angioedema.
  • General symptoms. Anemia, lethargy, irritability, fatigue, sleep disturbances, lactic acidosis, or sudden death.

Allergy or intolerance?

It’s very common for food allergies to be confused with food intolerances. However, they’re two completely different conditions.

Food intolerance involves digestive reactions to certain food components, while a food allergy is an immune system reaction that can cause multiple symptoms. Therefore, having a peanut allergy isn’t the same as suffering from lactose intolerance.

How to prevent food allergies in children

It’s very difficult to prevent or know what types of foods could cause allergies because everybody is different. Here are some recommendations that may be useful in the prevention of food allergies in children:

The Symptoms of Food Allergies in Children
  • In the case of babies, mothers should wait for the right time to start introducing new foods into their diet. Furthermore, they should incorporate these new foods gradually, as it’ll allow them to detect an allergic reaction much more easily.
  • Parents should notify if their child has any food allergies. It’s important for school caregivers (and even their friends) to know what foods your child is allergic to.
  • Explain the symptoms children have when they have a food allergy. It’s essential for your child’s family and friends to know when an allergic reaction could be happening.
  • Write up an action plan for your child’s school and its caregivers.
  • You can resort to a medical alert bracelet or necklace that both alerts and explains the child’s symptoms in case of an allergic reaction.

Check with your child’s pediatrician

It’s essential for you to consult a pediatrician or an allergist when your child manifests signs of food allergy after a meal. It’s best to consult them when the allergic reaction is occurring so the medical professional can diagnose your child.

You should also see a doctor immediately if your child has difficulty breathing, dizziness, lightheadedness, rapid pulse, and low blood pressure, among other symptoms.

Finally, keep in mind that the symptoms of food allergies in children are often confused with other conditions. Therefore, you must consult your child’s pediatrician and follow his or her instructions. Don’t resort to medication without consulting a professional first.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Miles EA., Calder PC., Can early omega 3 fatty acid exposure reduce risk of childhood allergic disease? Nutrients, 2017.
  • Munblit D., Peroni DG., Boix Amorós A., Hsu PS., et al., Human milk and allergic diseases: an unsolved puzzle. Nutrients, 2017.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.