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Pediatric  Dental  Health


March 1, 2003

FOOD ALLERGY AND HYPERSENSITIVITY IN CHILDREN


Food allergy occurs in about 6% to 8% of children. The majority of food allergic reactions occur in the first years of a child’s life. As children grow older, they loose their sensitivity to milk and eggs, but not to peanuts, fish, tree nuts, and shellfish.

For a child with a food allergy, eating even a tiny amount of a particular food can cause symptoms such as nausea, skin rash, vomiting, diarrhea, and cramping. A severe allergic reaction can cause swelling in the throat or mouth, wheezing, a sudden drop in blood pressure, and severe difficulty breathing. This kind of severe reaction is called anaphylaxis. Food allergies are the leading cause of anaphylaxis. Food related anaphylaxis causes 200 deaths per year in the United States.

          WHAT IS FOOD ALLERGY?