As summer ends and school heads back into session, you may be concerned about what to do if your child has a food allergy. While all schools handle food allergies slightly differently, there are some common themes. It’s important to have a plan in place and make sure that everyone is on board, including your child.
Food allergies are one of the most challenging aspects of feeding kids. Many parents feel a lot of stress when introducing allergens or feel completely alone when they get a diagnosis like FPIES. There is so much parents want to know about food allergies and so much conflicting information available.
Unlike some of the other top allergens, many people (up to 40%) with a fish allergy won’t develop a reaction until they are an adult. This doesn’t mean that fish allergy can’t happen in babies, but it’s important to keep it in the diet and watch for a reaction all throughout life.
Finned fish are different from shellfish. Being allergic to one doesn’t mean that you’ll be allergic to the other. In one study, salmon, tuna, catfish, and cod were the fish that seemed to cause the most reactions. Most people are told to avoid all types of finned fish if they are allergic to one type.
Tree nut allergies are one of the 9 most common food allergies. The most common tree nut allergies are walnut, almond, hazelnut, pecan, cashew, and pistachio (1). It’s possible to be allergic to only 1 kind of nut, but about half of kids who are allergic to 1 nut are also allergic to another.
Tree nut allergies are usually lifelong with only about 9% of children outgrowing their allergy.
Soybean allergy tends to be more common in babies and young children, with many outgrowing it as they age. It is estimated that about 0.4% of infants in the US are allergic to soy.
Soybeans are legumes, just like beans, peas, lentils and peanuts. Up to 88% of people with soy allergies are also allergic or significantly sensitized to peanuts, although the reverse isn’t true. People with soy allergies are more likely to be allergic to major allergens like peanuts, tree nuts, egg, milk, and sesame, than to other legumes.
Many parents have expressed fear in regards to introducing allergens to their baby. This makes sense. The idea that your child could have an allergic reaction to a food is scary. The recommendations for allergen introduction have changed recently, so you may have done something completely different with an older child. Know that these recommendations are to help reduce the risk of allergies, but there is nothing you can do that is guaranteed to prevent allergies. If your child ends up with a food allergy, it is not your fault.