Allergies–both food and environmental are perhaps the most ubiquitous symptom of this epidemic of chronic illness. In fact, very few children these days show no signs of any allergies or allergic-type sensitivities. There are many subtle signs of allergies that are often missed by parents and pediatricians.
If your child demonstrates any of the following signs or symptoms with frequency, it is likely that he or she has some sort of allergy or food/environmental sensitivity:
- One or two red cheeks and/or ears after eating
- Dark circles or bags surrounding the eyes/”droopy” eyes
- Patches of red, dry, scaly skin commonly referred to as eczema
- Frequent diaper rashes in babies
- Red ring around the anus
- Cradle cap or excessive scaling and dandruff on the scalp
- Chronic runny nose or cough
- Chronic diarrhea
- Alternating diarrhea and constipation
- Sensory disorders
- Nighttime bedwetting or frequent accidents in potty-trained children
- Excessive drooling in children too old to drool
- Babies who chronically spit up, vomit or regurgitate, reflux
- Frequent temper tantrums, inexplicable behavioral issues
- Hives or other skin rashes
- Excitability or hyperactivity
How do I know if my child’s symptoms are related to a food or environmental allergy?
There are several tests or methods for determining whether or not your child has allergies or sensitivities. Find an integrative physician, allergist, nurse practitioner or other healthcare provider to help you determine your child’s particular sensitivities.
1) Ask for an IgE skin prick or scratch test for suspected allergens. This requires “scratching” the skin and exposing your child to particular allergens to look for a response. Alternatively, you may ask for an IgE RAST or serum test.
This is a blood test and requires a blood draw. IgE tests are considered the “gold standard” among allergists, but typically only test for a dozen or more allergens. To test for a wider variety of substances, you may need to ask for an IgG panel. See below.
2) Ask your practitioner for an IgG test for at least 100 of the most common foods your child eats or allergens he/she is exposed to. There are several different companies who produce IgG panels (where you can test for hundreds of different allergens).
The IgG panel is not 100% accurate, so it is not always utilized or accepted by many allergists. Although it does not provide definitive results on a child’s sensitivities, it can be a useful tool in finding many troublesome food or environmental allergens.
An IgG panel can be done using a blood draw or by a single finger prick, depending on the company and the test.
3) Consider asking for a celiac panel. Celiac disease is significantly underdiagnosed, but it is worthwhile determining whether or not your child is allergic to wheat/gluten.
4) Keep a food log. Write down everything your child eats for a period of several weeks; also write down any observations you make with regard to your child’s behavior/symptoms (e.g., record whether or not your child’s cheeks become red after eating particular foods, notice behavior after particular foods, etc.)
5) Consider doing a food challenge test. Remove a suspected allergen (e.g., dairy or wheat) for a period of several days. Notice whether there is any improvement in symptoms. Reintroduce the food and pay careful attention to any symptoms that arise.
For more information see:
Is This Your Child by Doris Rapp
Healing the New Childhood Epidemics by Dr. Kenneth Bock
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This document is not a substitute for medical advice, treatment, diagnosis, or consultation with a medical professional. It is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be relied on to make determinations related to treatment of a medical condition. Epidemic Answers has not verified and does not guaranty the accuracy of the information provided in this document.