Most Common Kid’s Food Allergies

Food Allergy in Kids

Many food allergies in children are mild and fade over time. But in other cases, reactions to food can be dangerous and even deadly.

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The study found that food allergies were highest in preschoolers, between 3 to 5 years of age. Teenagers, particularly boys, were most likely to experience severe and life-threatening reactions.

Top allergy-causing foods and subtle sources that you may not know in kids

1. Peanuts

Peanut allergies are so serious that some schools ban half of the “PB-and-J” combo from their premises. In your home, wipe down surfaces you or your kids may have touched after eating peanuts or peanut butter to avoid spreading the oils.

Possible sources: cakes, cookies, fried foods, Szechwan sauce, vegetarian meat substitutes, cereals

2. Tree nuts

These include almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts (filberts), macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts (pignolias), pistachio nuts and walnuts.

Also known as: anacardium nuts, nut meats, pinon

Possible sources: baked goods, salads, chocolate bars, trail mix, flavoured coffee, Amaretto

3. Sesame seeds

Their size is misleading — sesame seeds can actually be quite deadly and can send someone who is allergic into anaphylactic shock. Any package listing generic “seeds” is often referring to sesame seeds.

Possible sources: sauces, dressings, dips, adhesive bandages, cosmetics, pet food

4. Milk

Anyone with a milk allergy must stay away from all dairy products, including cheese, yogurt and ice cream. While some products obviously contain milk, it is also used as an ingredient in many recipes, such as in powder form for instant foods.

Possible sources: tofu, baked goods, coffee, chocolate, brown sugar, fried foods, seasonings, soup mixes

5. Eggs

Luckily, many children who have egg allergies grow out of them by age three, so they can join the rest of us in enjoying rich baked goods like cakes, cookies, muffins and pancakes. If someone you know has an egg allergy, check that any sauce or topping you serve is egg-free, because these are the parts of meals we most often forget to check.

Possible sources: sauces, baby food, icing, pies, cakes, quiche, pasta (egg noodles)

6. Seafood (fish, crustaceans and shellfish)

Some people with seafood allergies can eat one variety but not others (crustaceans but not shellfish, for example). In other cases, simply serving fish near an allergic person can be dangerous: smelling vapours or touching infected surfaces has been known to cause reactions.

Also known as: any specific fish, like bass, sole, snapper; crustaceans like crab, shrimp, lobster; shellfish such as clam, scallops, escargot, squid

Possible sources: deli meats, hot dogs, pizza toppings, salad dressings, sauces (marinara or Worcestershire), marshmallows

7. Soy

Soy is an unsuspecting ingredient because it is so versatile. Although it is great for the environment and can be used to make earth-friendly soaps, cosmetics and craft materials, soy is a very common allergen. Before you offer soybean crayons to all your child’s friends, check to make sure nobody has an allergy.

Possible sources: tofu, chewing gum, hot chocolate, baby formula, baked goods, canned tuna, candy

8. Wheat

Anyone trying to cut starches and breads from their diet may wish their body rejected wheat, but this allergy eliminates the opportunity to eat many other foods as well. Even ice cream is a possible source of wheat, so read ingredients carefully.

Possible sources: breads, baked goods, pasta, cereal, crackers, gravy mixes, croutons, creamed soups, battered foods


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