An elimination diet is used to determine the presence of food allergies. AskDrSears.com reports that up to 7 percent of children have food allergies. Symptoms of food allergies come in many forms, and can be difficult to connect to any one particular food, especially if your child eats multiple allergenic foods. According to Kids Health, common symptoms of food allergies include eczema, hives, wheezing, sneezing, itchy eyes, coughing, light-headedness and gastrointestinal effects such as diarrhea. An elimination diet can help you determine what foods cause these symptoms.
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According to AskDrSears.com, 90 percent of food allergies in children are related to the following foods: egg whites, dairy products, peanuts, shellfish, soy, tree nuts and wheat. However, food allergies vary by individual, so virtually any food can cause symptoms if the body has an allergy to it. Utilizing an elimination diet will help you figure out what food or food group causes the symptoms. This works by eliminating a particular food and then reintroducing it back into you child’s diet to see if any symptoms occur.
First, determine which foods you think your child might be allergic to and eliminate them entirely from his diet. AskDrSears.com recommends that you eliminate them for two weeks. Take note if your child’s symptoms, such as rash, improve during this time. Introduce the food back into your child’s diet and see if a reaction occurs. AskDrSears.com suggests reintroducing a new food per week. Take care to introduce the whole food, not a mixed dish. AskDrSears.com explains that this will likely alter the results.
Persistent food allergy symptoms should be addressed with an allergist. According to Kids Health, the most common food allergy test is a skin prick test. During this test, your skin is pricked at the surface and a liquid extract of various foods is placed on the area. If your skin reacts in the form of a bump, that is indicative of an allergy. However, AskDrSears.com reports that skin prick tests can produce false positives. A blood test for food allergies should be conducted in conjunction with a skin test to make sure that your child’s immunity to food allergens if fully evaluated.
Once you have confirmed that your child is allergic to a certain food, the best form of defense is to avoid the food entirely. Take care in reading all packaged foods so that there are not any traces of the allergen. AskDrSears.com reports that the majority of food allergies disappear by the time young children turn three years old. However, this is certainly not a time to let down your guard. You might attempt the food elimination diet once again to determine whether your child still has food allergies, but ask your pediatrician beforehand.
The elimination diet is useful to identify food allergies on your own, but you may need medical advice if problems persist. Severe cases of food allergy can cause a life-threatening condition called anaphylaxis. AskDrSears.com explains that anaphylaxis causes the cardiovascular system to enter a state of shock. Take your child to the emergency room immediately. Avoid feeding your child any of the same foods again in the future.