The best treatment for
food allergies is to avoid the food that causes the
allergy. When that isn't possible, you can use medicines such as
antihistamines for mild reactions and the medicines in
an allergy kit for serious reactions.
Start by telling your family, friends, and coworkers that you
have a food allergy, and ask them to help you avoid the food. Read all food
labels, and learn the
other names that may be used for food
If your baby has a milk or soy allergy, your
doctor may suggest either that you change the formula or that you feed your baby only breast milk.
Specially prepared formulas are available for infants who have soy and milk
If you or your child has mild allergies,
your doctor may suggest nonprescription
antihistamines to control the symptoms. You may need
prescription antihistamines if over-the-counter medicines don't help or if
they cause side effects, such as drowsiness.
have a severe allergic reaction, your first treatment
may be done in an emergency room or by emergency personnel. You will be given a
epinephrine to stop the further release of histamine
and to relax the muscles that help you breathe.
How to treat a reaction
If your doctor has prescribed an
allergy kit, always keep it with you. It contains a
an antihistamine. It's important to give the epinephrine shot right away. Your doctor or pharmacist will teach you how to give yourself a shot. Be sure to check the expiration
dates on the medicines, and replace the medicines as needed.
For step-by-step instructions on how to give the shot, see:
- Allergies: Giving Yourself an Epinephrine Shot.
- Allergies in Children: Giving an Epinephrine Shot to a Child.
You should also wear a medical alert bracelet or other jewelry that lists your food allergies. You can order
medical alert jewelry through most drugstores or on the Internet.
Children and food allergies
important to take special care with children who have food allergies. A child
with severe food allergies may have a life-threatening
anaphylactic reaction to even a tiny amount of a food
allergen. Your child should always wear a medical
alert bracelet and carry an allergy kit.
Make sure that all caregivers (school
administrators, teachers, friends, coaches, and babysitters):
- Know about your child's food
- Can recognize the symptoms of a food
- Know where the allergy kit is kept and how to give the
- Know to call
Children may have only mild symptoms in the first few
minutes after they eat the food allergen, but they may have severe symptoms in
10 to 60 minutes. Children always should be observed in a hospital for several
hours after a reaction.
Make sure that your child:
- Always wears a
medical alert bracelet .
- Always carries an allergy kit. Children at risk of severe allergic reactions should keep the kits at school or day care and at home. Older, mature children should be taught to give themselves the shot.
Although your child needs to avoid certain foods, he or she still needs to eat healthy foods. A dietitian can tell you which foods are important for your child's health.