For children who suffer from allergies, activities of daily living can be drastically impeded, especially when those allergies involve food. Food allergies are a leading cause of health complications among children in the United States. In fact, estimates report that just less than 20 percent of all children, in the United States, have some form of food allergy.
As a parent, when your child is suffering from complications associated with a potential food allergy, it is important to seek out medical attention in an effort to obtain guidance and treatment for the allergic reaction. While there are many allergy tests on the market, many healthcare professionals will recommend beginning with a simple process known as the Elimination diet.
Food allergies create health complications leading to edema, hives, rash, complications with the bowel and gastrointestinal system. In terms of secondary health complications, food allergies are often associated with upper respiratory complications, complications involving ear infections, acne and even asthma.
To diagnose a food allergy in your child, using the Elimination diet, you essentially have two options. The first option involves the removal of the food you believe to be the culprit, allowing a few days to pass, and then determine if your child experiences a change in health status once the food has been removed. If the health of your child does not improve with removal of the one food, then re-introduce the food and remove another. By using this process, you are eliminating only one food at a time, thus narrowing down the food which is the culprit in your child’s food allergy.
As a second alternative, which seems to be far easier on smaller children, the process involves the elimination of all foods except one. With this Elimination diet, there is generally fed only one food product that is known to be safe, allowing for a clearing of symptoms. Once the symptoms are cleared, one food is re-introduced, over several weeks, until the symptoms re-appear at which point you can narrow down the food allergy complication to the most recently added food product. As a general rule, this process can take several months as new foods should only be introduced once every one to two weeks.
Regardless of which method you choose for the Elimination diet, it is important to keep a food journal of your progress as you will want to share this with your child’s allergist. Under the guidance of your child’s doctor, you can choose which program is best for your child’s particular needs. Considering age, gender, physical activity and other health complications, your child’s physician may recommend one path of the Elimination diet over the other. Regardless, the focus of the Elimination diet is to naturally determine which foods are creating the allergic reaction in your child, impairing the quality of life.