Q: Can you tell me a little about food allergies and children?
A: Some allergies, like an allergy to milk, often show up just as a stomachache or rash. Other allergies, like peanut, show up (even the first time) as Anaphylaxis, which includes shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. If your family has a history of this kind of allergy you need to talk it over with a pediatrician. Very few people have food allergies. You can avoid this in children by not giving cow's milk before age 1 and not giving fish before age 3 if you have a family history of seafood allergy. And pediatricians will often recommend delaying the introduction of each product. But if you see your child having hives or rash you should check with your pediatrician. It's also important to check because sometimes we assume the reaction is allergy and then avoid otherwise healthy foods, which makes a child's diet too narrow. The most common causes of allergies are cow's milk, eggs, wheat, soy, peanuts, corn (although that's pretty rare), and occasionally citrus. So, you watch for symptoms that occur anywhere from a few minutes up to 72 hours from eating a particular food. Then check with your pediatrician. When you ween an infant, be sure to introduce only one food at a time and wait a few days before introducing another new food.