Guarding Children Against Food Allergies Can Protect Against Other Risks Too
Children with food allergies are also at increased risk for atopic diseases such as allergic rhinitis (hay fever), asthma and eczema, and itchy skin rash, New York Daily News reports.
"We call it the ‘atopic march' because kids with food allergy and eczema in early childhood tend to develop asthma and allergic rhinitis down the road," Hugh Sampson, a pediatric allergist/immunologist who specializes in food allergies, told the newspaper.
"The classic reaction is an itching sensation of the mouth, swelling of the lips and tongue, and tightness in the throat," Sampson added. "There's often an itchy red rash, like hives, and some kids develop a runny nose, watery eyes and wheezing."
Gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, abdominal cramping and vomiting, often accompany other allergic symptoms. And if the allergic reaction is severe, it can cause low blood pressure, hypotensive shock, loss of consciousness, and even death.
"You can have a mild reaction one time, like mild swelling in the tongue and mouth, and then a very severe reaction the next time and go into shock," Sampson said. "Typically, if a reaction involves more than the skin and upper respiratory tract, we consider that anaphylaxis, which is a severe reaction that threatens the whole body."