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Quiz: The Truth About Children and Food Allergies

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Children are most often allergic to:

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Children are most often allergic to:

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

According to a 2010 survey of more than 40,000 U.S. families, peanut allergy is the most common children's food allergy, followed by milk and shellfish. Research shows that peanut allergies may have tripled among kids since 1997.

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Kids with food allergies can stay safe at school by bringing lunch from home.

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Kids with food allergies can stay safe at school by bringing lunch from home.

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Sending food from home can help you know what's in your child's lunch but not what's in other children's. Kids often share food. Your child may not know what's in the cookie or sandwich he takes a bite of. Make sure your child sticks to a no-sharing policy for lunches and snacks.

 

Crafts or science projects that use food can also expose kids to allergens. Let the school staff know if your child has a food allergy. 

Which of these foods can cause a severe allergic reaction?

Which of these foods can cause a severe allergic reaction?

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Anyone with a food allergy can have anaphylaxis -- a severe, possibly fatal allergic reaction that's a medical emergency. Food allergies are the most common cause of anaphylaxis. Children who have asthma or have had an anaphylactic reaction before are more at risk. The foods most likely to cause a severe reaction are peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish.

If your child has a peanut allergy, she should avoid tree nuts, too.

If your child has a peanut allergy, she should avoid tree nuts, too.

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Peanuts aren't true nuts -- they're related to peas and beans. Because tree nuts come from different plant families, a child with a peanut allergy may still be fine eating tree nuts like walnuts, almonds, pecans, or cashews -- as long as they were prepared away from peanuts. But the proteins in peanuts are similar to those found in tree nuts, so many people have both kinds of allergies.

Milk allergy and lactose intolerance are the same thing.

Milk allergy and lactose intolerance are the same thing.

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Parents often confuse lactose intolerance -- the inability to digest the sugar in milk and other dairy products -- with a milk allergy. The symptoms can seem similar. Both can cause vomiting and stomachache within about a half-hour. Your pediatrician can help you learn whether your child has a milk allergy or lactose intolerance.

As long as your child doesn't eat peanuts, she can avoid an allergic reaction to them.
 

As long as your child doesn't eat peanuts, she can avoid an allergic reaction to them.  

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

It depends on how sensitive she is to peanuts. Skipping PB&J sandwiches and other foods with peanuts may not be enough. Some people can have a reaction just by touching peanuts, eating foods that came in contact with equipment that touched peanuts, or breathing air near people who are eating them. On the other hand, most people with peanut allergies can eat some forms of peanut oil. Ask your child's doctor what's safe for her.

Children can start trying high-allergen foods at age 3.

Children can start trying high-allergen foods at age 3.

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There's no exact age at which all children can try to eat highly allergenic foods such as milk, eggs, and peanuts. Doctors once believed that delaying introducing foods such as peanuts and seafood would prevent children from developing food allergies. But studies show that delaying foods makes no difference. Based on your family history of food allergies, your doctor will help you decide when you can try feeding your child certain foods.

Allergy shots can cure your child's food allergies.

Allergy shots can cure your child's food allergies.

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  • Correct Answer:

There is no cure for food allergies -- or any allergies. Immunotherapy, or allergy shots, may help respiratory allergies but has not been shown to relieve allergies to food. Some medications can treat minor and major symptoms. Your child's doctor can help you form a treatment plan for her allergy symptoms, as well as a plan for treating severe reactions.

Food additives commonly cause allergic reactions.

Food additives commonly cause allergic reactions.

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Food additives like dyes, sweeteners, or preservatives can trigger reactions, even severe reactions like anaphylaxis. But most of these are chemical reactions, not allergic reactions. Only a handful of food additives have been shown to cause reactions in a small number of people. Foods, not additives, are more likely to cause allergic reactions.

A certain food has given your child hives. Is it OK to use over-the-counter medication?

A certain food has given your child hives. Is it OK to use over-the-counter medication?

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For a minor, isolated allergic reaction to food, most children older than age 4 can take a liquid antihistamine like diphenhydramine. This over-the-counter antihistamine can relieve hives and itching. But if your child has a food allergy, it's difficult to know whether a severe reaction might occur. Ask your pediatrician if you should be prepared for one.

How quickly do most children have a severe allergic reaction to a food?

How quickly do most children have a severe allergic reaction to a food?

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Symptoms of an anaphylactic reaction to food usually occur within an hour, but they can happen within seconds or a few hours. About one-third of the time, a second reaction occurs hours later. That's why, even if your child seems to recover from a severe reaction, he should still go to the hospital for observation for 4 to 6 hours.

If your child has a swollen tongue and trouble breathing after eating, you should:

If your child has a swollen tongue and trouble breathing after eating, you should:

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Shortness of breath, swelling, and itching can be early symptoms of an anaphylactic reaction, which can become life-threatening within minutes. If you have epinephrine, inject it first and then call 911. If you don’t have epinephrine, call 911 immediately. The best way to prevent anaphylaxis is to help your child avoid his food triggers.

Kids can outgrow some food allergies.

Kids can outgrow some food allergies.

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Most children outgrow milk, soy, egg, and wheat allergies by the end of their teen years. In fact, many kids outgrow them by the time they're 5 years old. On the other hand, kids with peanut, tree nut, or seafood allergies usually hold onto them for life. Your pediatrician or allergist can do tests to see if your child's allergy has gone away.

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Your Score:     You correctly answered   out of   questions.
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Great job! You have a good grasp of how to manage your child's food allergy.

Not bad, but knowing more about your child's food allergy can help you manage it better. Read up and try again.

Learning more about your child's food allergy can help you manage it better. Read up and try again.

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