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How to Know if Your Child Has a Food Allergy

Food allergies are a dangerous immune system reaction that can threaten your child’s life if you don’t identify them right away.  To keep your child safe and healthy, it’s important to know what the signs and symptoms of a food allergy reaction look like.  Symptoms can happen rapidly, even within a few minutes to a couple of hours after eating.  They can also range from mild to severe, including:

Mild Symptoms

  • An itchy, runny nose and sneezing
  • A few hives and/or mild itchy skin
  • Mild nausea and/or stomach discomfort
  • An itchy mouth
  • A combination of mild symptoms on different areas of the body is considered severe

Severe Symptoms

  • Shortness of breath, wheezing, and/or a repetitive cough
  • A pale or blue color, fainting, weak pulse, and dizziness
  • A tightness in throat, hoarseness, trouble breathing or swallowing
  • A lot of swelling of the tongue/and or lips
  • Itchy skin rash (hives) over the body, a lot of redness
  • Vomiting, abdominal pain, or diarrhea

How Your Child Might Describe It

A young child with a limited vocabulary may not describe the symptoms of an allergic reaction the same way that an adult would. Additionally, their voices may change. For example they may become hoarse or squeaky and they may slur their words. Here are some phrases that a child may say to describe a food allergy reaction:

  • “My tongue itches,” “It (my tongue) feels like there is hair on it,” or “It feels like something’s poking my tongue.”
  • “My mouth feels funny,” or “My mouth is tingling.”
  • “There’s something stuck in my throat,” “It (my throat) feels thick,” “It feels like a bump is on the back of my throat.”
  • “My lips feel tight.”
  • “It feels like there are bugs in there,” (to describe itchy ears).

Common Food Allergies

People can experience an allergic reaction to any food, but the following foods are responsible for most allergic reactions:

  • Peanuts
  • Tree nuts
  • Shellfish
  • Fish
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Soy
  • Wheat

At Carpe Diem Private Preschool, we care about the health, safety and well-being of each child. It’s important to share your child’s allergies with us, so that we know how to prevent allergic reactions from occurring.  This will also ensure that we are prepared to properly care for each child if a reaction does occur. With our commitment to safety and open communication, we work together with parents and caregivers to best protect and care for all our students.