Signs Your Child Has Food Allergies

Researchers estimate that 5.6 million children in America have food allergies. That’s about 1 in every 13 kids. And of those children, 40% are allergic to more than one food. If you suspect your child may have food allergies, or are concerned you won’t know the signs of an allergy, read this blog post for more insight. Of course, always bring up any concerns with your child’s pediatrician as well.

What are common food allergens?

The most common food allergies are to milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, fish, soy, and wheat. However, children can have allergies to anything from certain fruits like strawberries or bananas to certain spices like cinnamon or coriander.

What are signs your child has food allergies?

Allergic reactions usually show up within 5 minutes of eating the food. However, in some cases reactions can take up to 30 minutes to show up. These reactions include hives, itchiness, swelling of the skin, vomiting, diarrhea, and/or breathing issues. If your child has any of these reactions soon after eating, write down the reaction as well as what he or she ate during that meal. Bring this with you when you visit your child’s pediatrician to help pinpoint the food(s) causing the reaction.

Serious allergic reactions

If your child has food allergies, these can develop into a more severe reaction called anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis causes trouble breathing, wheezing, chest tightness, swelling, and other severe symptoms. The cure for this is a dose of epinephrine. Your doctor may prescribe your child a dose of this in an injection form to use in cases of severe allergic reactions. If your child was not prescribed it, an anaphylactic reaction requires an immediate trip to the emergency room. You can read more about anaphylaxis in this article by Dr. Epstein.

But my child has eaten eggs/milk/nuts in the past without reaction. Why now?

Allergic reactions can increase in severity, so that one you hadn’t noticed was an issue because the reaction was so minor develops into a reaction you can’t miss. Also, some people develop reactions to foods later on, even in adulthood, although this is rare.


So if you experience any signs your child has food allergies, see his or her pediatrician to plan the next course of action. Here at MVP we also are experienced with working with children with allergies. Bring your child to urgent care if he or she experiences any sudden worrying symptoms and you can’t get in to see your doctor quickly enough. For anaphylactic reactions call 911. You can read more about allergy signs here.