Health
Food Allergies in babies and Young children
Category: Food Allergies,Health Author: Carla Date: 11 months ago Comments: 0

If any of you work with very young babies and are trying to navigate your way though the whole weaning process with parents and worried that the little one you look after potentially could have a food allergy/intolerance here are a few pointers.

A food allergy occurs when the body’s immune system reacts abnormally to certain foods. The immune system then releases histamine reaction which creates symptoms of skin rashes, swelling, vomiting, and diarrhoea. Researchers believe that if there is a history of Eczema, hayfever or asthma in your family then your baby is more likely to suffer from an allergy.

According to current NHS advice you should begin introducing solids to your baby at about six months. As far as the allergenic foods you should always consult your GP or health visitor if you are worried however within the guidelines at the moment is that from six months allergenic foods should be introduced in very small quanitites and one by one.

These are;

  • cows’ milk
  • eggs
  • foods that contain gluten, including wheat, barley and rye
  • nuts and peanuts (serve them crushed or ground)
  • seeds (serve them crushed or ground)
  • soya
  • shellfish (don’t serve raw or lightly cooked)
  • fish

Other foods to avoid giving babies and young children.

Research suggests  that introducing foods such as peanut and eggs beyond the six to twelve month period  increases the risk of the child developing an allergy to these foods.

Many children outgrow their allergies to eggs and milk however it appears that if you have a peanut allergy this usually can stay with you.

How do you tell if the young baby you look after has an food allergy when perhaps the parents are unsure or haven’t tried these types of allergenic foods. If a baby is going to have an allergic reaction this is going to happen pretty much as soon as they have eaten that specific food

Signs to look out for are;

  • diarrhoea or vomiting
  • a cough
  • wheezing and shortness of breath
  • itchy throat and tongue
  • itchy skin or rash
  • swollen lips and throat
  • runny or blocked nose
  • sore, red and itchy eyes.

If your child shows one or more of these symptoms get medical advice.

According to statistics only a small proportion of children can have severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) If this is the case you should seek emergency medical advice.

So what’s the difference between an allergy and an  intolerance? The two can easily be confused.

FOOD INTOLERANCE

A food intolerance is more common than a food allergy. Symptoms are slower manifest but are longer lasting and tend to attack or irritate the digestive system including nausea, gas, cramps, abdominal pain, diarrhoea Other symptoms include joint pain, rashes, eczema and headaches.

FOOD ALLERGY

A food allergy is less common and affects the body’s immune system which reacts by releasing chemicals in the body. The reaction can cause symptoms as previously explained above like coughing, diarrhoea, breathing problems, vomiting, abdominal pain, hives, swelling, a drop in blood pressure, blocked nose, itchy eyes. At it’s worst it can lead to Anaphylaxis.

 

 

 


Serious Allergies – Natasha’s Law
Category: Food Allergies,Health Author: Carla Date: 12 months ago Comments: 0

 

One of the many worrying and challenging things about being a nanny is having to deal with one of your charges having allergies or food intolerances. Your always on what seems to be high alert!!.  The thought something happening to one of your kids doesn’t bear thinking about.

There 14 major allergens that need to be declared by food law introduced in December 2014 which if you weren’t aware of are;

  • celery
  • cereals containing gluten (such as Barley and Oats)
  • crustaceans  (prawns, crabs and lobsters
  • eggs
  • fish
  • lupen
  • milk
  • molluscs (such as mussels and oysters
  • mustard
  • peanuts
  • sesame
  • soybeans
  • sulphur dioxide and sulphates
  • tree nuts ( such as almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, brazil nuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios and macadamia nuts

However for one young girl this labelling and accuracy was not clear enough.

In a recent program https://www.channel4.com/programmes/food-unwrapped-investigates” Food unwrapped” it highlighted Natasha Ednan-Laperouse case, a 15 years old teenager who suffered a sesame seed  allergic reaction on an aircraft after eating a pre-packaged Pret sandwich due to poor labelling. Nowhere on the packaging was it clear that sesame seeds were in the flour used to make the sandwich.  Her tragic death has brought about a new legislation called “Natasha’s law” which will come into force by October 21 which stipulates that there must be transparency and complete labelling of all ingredients found in pre-packaged food made on site where it is to be sold.  However, if your walking into a regular cafe or restaurant they wont be forced to declare the ingredient on their menu which seems ludicrous. I f i was looking after a little one with a food allergy I would certainly not be throwing caution to the wind and taking any risks and walking in and buying anything in a cafe /restaurant not being transparent enough.

I came away shocked, after having watched the program to find out that food allergies are on the rise in the UK with almost roughly  2 million of us having food allergies. The hospitalization of children due to allergic reactions to foods has gone up by 72% in just  5 years. What’s worse is that based on the  journalist research in the program, where she rang round 153 pharmacies, she found that none of them had any in stock and that there is a major supply problem of Adrenalin Auto Injectors in the UK.  Parents are struggling to order any in advance either online or in pharmacies. The program highlighted the case of one particular 8 year old boy with 28 allergies who had two out of date Adrenalin Auto Injectors (like most meds they are only in date for a year). Mum was desperately trying to access these everywhere but without luck!  If Seems like the government aren’t taking this seriously enough, either that, or turning a blind eye! These are children’s lives we are talking about!!

If any of you who work with families who have found it difficult sourcing out Adrenalin Auto Injectors it would be interesting to hear your stories!