eight common questions about allergies in children:
understanding intolerances

allergies and understanding allergies in children

From a sneeze or two in the park to unusual reactions to food, it's thought that up to 50% of children in the UK have been diagnosed with some kind of allergy. Fortunately, since it's so common, there are plenty of experienced medical professionals on hand to help.

If you find your baby starts showing a symptom or two, simply make a note of what's happening and pop in to see a specialist. Once you know what's going on, a few lifestyle tweaks will make sure your child continues to grow up healthy and happy.To help get to the bottom of things, here are a few of the most common questions about allergies.

allergies and understanding allergies in children


is it an allergy or intolerance?

First things first, there's always a little bit of confusion about the difference between a food intolerance and an allergy. A food allergy can create a nasty reaction that may need immediate medication. A food intolerance will generally produce a less dramatic response and tends to cause tummy ache and stomach problems some time after a meal.


what happens with an allergy?

Little immune systems can find it hard to cope with something that's usually harmless. In an allergic reaction, their body will respond badly to the culprit, whether it's a type of food, pollen, dust mite, animal fur or a form of medicine.


Which foods can cause a reaction?

Around 90% of all reactions are from milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame seeds, fish, shellfish, fruits or soy. In more severe cases, even traces of a food can cause symptoms to occur within minutes – regardless of whether your child is eating it or not.


What are the main signs of a reaction?

Allergic reactions come in all shapes and sizes. They can include an itchy rash, wheezing, vomiting and stomach symptoms. In extreme cases they can cause a child to collapse.


What are the main
signs of an intolerance?

From tiredness to a tummy ache, there are many common symptoms for an intolerance. This can make them difficult to recognise and diagnose. One common food intolerance is to gluten, which is found in wheat, oats, barley and rye.


What is anaphylaxis?

Anaphylaxis is when your child's body reacts very quickly and badly to an allergen. While it's quite rare, it's useful for new parents to be able to spot the symptoms as soon as possible. These can include: a rash or flushed skin, difficulty in swallowing, speaking or breathing, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, sudden feeling of weakness and a drop in blood pressure,collapse and unconsciousness.If your little one is at risk of an anaphylactic reaction, you can see a specialist and get a prescription for an adrenaline injection kit. You should always seek medical assistance as soon as a reaction like this occurs.


Can my little one be
tested for allergies?

It's best to pop into a clinic if you think your child may be showing symptoms of an allergy or intolerance. There are skin tests for the more common ones. These tests become much more reliable once your toddler has reached two years old.


Where can I get
more information?

For more information about allergies, take a look at the information and advice found on the NHS website. Equally, Kidsaware offers useful tips and tricks of the trade to help manage allergies. If your little one experiences a gluten intolerance, you can find out all there is to know at the Coeliac UK website.