5 Signs That Your Baby Has a Food Sensitivity

From gluten to grains, lactose to legumes, shellfish to soy, food allergies are the hot topic in today’s health industry. Whether it’s the extreme ill effects associated with ingesting wheat or the slight stomach discomfort after a glass of milk, more and more individuals are developing adverse health effects as a result of everyday foods and drinks. In fact, up to 15 million Americans currently suffer from these sometimes-fatal conditions, and the numbers are growing exponentially. In just fourteen short years between 1997 and 2011, the recorded number of food allergies doubled, with 50% more diagnoses in children under 18.

Why are we becoming more sensitive to the sustenance we feed ourselves daily? Unfortunately, scientific research has yet to identify a specific cause. Numerous theories exist on why incidences of allergies are on the rise, but there is no conclusive correlating source. Some think it’s due to living conditions being too clean, preventing the proper development of immune systems and the ability to differentiate between harmful and harmless irritants. Others believe it’s the product of medications, lifestyle factors, and/or nutrient deficiencies.

No matter what the cause may be, this increasingly common condition isn’t likely to ease up anytime soon. As parents, protecting our little ones from the serious implications and often serious food allergies is critical to ensuring the safety, well-being, and overall health of our growing kids.

The first step towards guarding against foods that may harm your child is to identify those items that your child is sensitive to. There are specific types of foods and drinks that are more prone to being allergy-inducing than others. However, practically any ingredient could pose a threat. To help pinpoint which particular foods your child might react to, we’ve compiled a brief list of signs that may indicate your child may has a food sensitivity. Here are the five most common symptoms.

1. Skin Rashes

Hives on the skin often resemble bug bites or the side effects of eczema. However, these are the most common and obvious symptom of a food sensitivity. The degree to which they can exist often makes them difficult to detect. Skin rashes can be as subtle as redness in the cheeks or as obvious as full-blown body hives. Pay close attention to the color and complexion of your child’s skin after every meal and in particular when introducing new foods or feeding them high-risk items such as nuts, soy, wheat, fish, or corn.

2. Irregular Breathing

Another common symptom of food allergies and sensitivities is irregular or inconsistent breathing. The onset of sniffles or sneezing after a meal, or an overall change in the rhythm, depth, or pacing of a child’s inhalations and exhalations could indicate an intolerance. Just as you should monitor your son or daughter’s skin post-meal, also inspect his or her breathing patterns as well.

3. An Upset Stomach

Tummy troubles are a common ailment affecting young babies and children.  While many times they’re a normal part of a child’s adaptation and transition to solid food, they sometimes can be reflective of a more serious allergy. The developing digestive tracks of children are often incapable of processing certain foods merely because they’re not mature enough. However, in some cases, it can be due to a food-specific sensitivity. It’s a smart idea to question whether each and every case of nausea, diarrhea, or vomiting is a product of some element of your baby’s diet or merely a normal part of learning to eat.

4. Dizziness, Pale Skin, and Light-Headedness

More severe allergies generally express themselves through a more obvious array of symptoms. Dizziness and light-headedness, and at worst, unconsciousness, can sometimes result from foods that are harmful to your child. Pale skin can also be an inductor of a more severe sensitivity. Though these cases are rare, they require immediate attention and professional medical help.

5. Altered Behavior

Certain behavioral symptoms can suggest food allergies as well. How your child acts after eating or drinking can be a clue if an ingredient poses a potential threat. This is especially the case for children who are not yet verbal. Keep an eye out for listlessness, hyperactivity, and actions like grabbing at the throat.  These are clues the American Academy of Pediatrics lists as most frequently associated with a food intolerance.

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