First Signs & Symptoms of Food Allergies
Food allergies are becoming more prevalent each year (far more than they probably should be). Sadly, food allergies are effecting millions of people and can be LIFE THREATENING.
Note that food ALLERGIES are different than food INTOLERANCES. Food allergies CAN cause anaphylaxis, while intolerances do not.
ANAPHYLAXIS is a life-threatening and rapidly progressing allergic reaction. Another important thing to know, is that not all allergic reactions will be anaphylactic. Either way, it’s best to know what to look for and when to use an epipen.
Trust me, you’d rather be safe than sorry!
Jaxson’s first major scare of anaphylaxis. He experienced swelling in his lips, hives and vomiting.
Everyone has a different experience in how they discovered their child has food allergies. It may have been a severe reaction that required hospitalization or early signs and symptoms that pointed towards an allergic reaction.
Or maybe you have a suspicion now, which is why you’re reading this!
OUR PERSONAL EXPERIENCE:
Our first child, Jaxson, was a very challenging newborn baby. Yes, we were new parents and figuring things out as we went, but looking back, there were a lot more signs pointing towards food allergies that we wish we knew.
He was a colicky baby, had dry itchy skin due to eczema, and probably other digestive issues that we weren’t aware of. Now, if your baby also has these symptoms, it doesn’t mean they have food allergies, but it’s definitely something to keep an eye on.
Although, he only had breastmilk for the first 5 or 6 months, these were early signs that his digestive and immune system was struggling. His skin was extremely sensitive and after each doctors check up, we felt DEFEATED as parents.
We did everything his pediatrician suggested and tried a ton of different products to sooth it. Some of them seemed to work at first, but over time he would still get flare ups and we’d be back to square one.
It wasn’t until he had his “first foods” that we had more evidence that pointed towards food allergies. We mixed rice cereal, a small scoop of dairy based formula, and water. He always refused a bottle, so this was the first time he really consumed any type of baby formula.
After a few “bites” we noticed he was breaking out in hives around his mouth, cheeks and neck. He started scratching at it and became irritable. We gave him Benadryl immediately to help ease the symptoms.
That’s when we put a call in to see his pediatrician, who then referred us to an allergist.
From there, we learned that Jaxson did in fact, have food allergies. It was a basic skin test that showed us he was allergic to Peanuts, Dairy, and Eggs.
A few months later, after having a few accidental “scares” with signs of anaphylaxis, and a trip to the emergency room, his allergist wanted a more comprehensive blood test done immediately. This would show how severe his allergies were and if there were any other foods he could be allergic to.
The results were in and Jaxson’s levels were off the charts! UGH.
His three known allergies were in the SEVERE category, along with a few new ones that were tested.
This was not good news and to be honest, quite terrifying. (I’ll talk more about fears and coping in a separate post)
We now carry two EPIPENS and BENADRYL everywhere we go. We pack his own food and make sure everyone around him is aware of his severe food allergies. He also wears a personalized medical alert bracelet and has allergy tags on his medical bag, with all necessary information. It’s really tough and sometimes inconvenient, but it’s just a way of life for us now!
(Look for separate posts on strategies and tips for kids with food allergies)
This was Jaxson about 20 minutes after he put his lips on a drink that contained dairy, and about 5 minutes before he started vomiting in the car. We gave him the epipen for the first time and went straight to the emergency room.
Our trip to the emergency room. He was able to nap and let the meds work after such trauma.
After receiving an epipen injection, IV, Benadryl and Prednisone, Jaxson was starting to recover. We were so thankful, but it was one of the scariest moments we’ve had as parents.
Symptoms of food allergies
- Flushed skin or rash
- Tingling or itchy sensation in the mouth
- Face, tongue, or lip swelling
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea
- Abdominal cramps
- Coughing or wheezing
- Dizziness and/or lightheadedness
- Swelling of the throat and vocal cords
- Difficulty breathing
- Loss of consciousness
SYMPTOMS THAT MAY POINT TO FOOD INTOLERANCES
2. Colic or irritability
3. Abnormal amounts of spitting up
4. Gas, bloating or cramps
5. Constipation or Diarrhea
7. Frequent headaches
These are NOT immediately life threatening (aka- typically do not lead to anaphylaxis)! They usually are gradual reactions and may only happen if the food is eaten often because the digestive system is constantly irritated.
This image shows Jaxson experiencing a topical reaction of hives and a rash due to my husband giving him a kiss on the cheek after eating eggs (a major food allergy for Jaxson).
- If you suspect your child has food allergies or intolerances (or if the run in your family), talk to your child’s doctor ASAP!
- Tell your child’s doctor that you’d like them to be seen by a specialist (usually allergist) so they can get tested.
- Stay clear of the food your child is possibly allergic to until you get more information from their doctor.
- For skin/eczema issues, use Free and Clear for all products (soaps, lotions, & detergents, etc.).
- Watch for any other reactions and always carry Benadryl with you until you know more about your child’s health!
- Feel free to contact me if you have any other questions!
Leave any questions, comments or experiences below! Remember this is a safe community for moms/parents to connect!