So today, I want to offer some suggestions for those of you living with food allergies.
Millions of American children (and adults) are afflicted with food allergies. We may not know why people develop food allergies, but more and more evidence suggests that our immune system can go into overdrive early in childhood. So by breast-feeding, as well as having a planned diet early in life, one could help prevent the development of food allergies.
The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology suggests the following:
• Babies should be at least six months old before you give them solid foods.
• Avoid dairy until your child is over 12 months old.
• Introduce eggs at age two.
• Wait until your child is three years old before giving them peanuts, nuts or fish.
It is always important to discuss a nutritional plan with your primary care doctor for the prevention of food allergies. When it comes to childhood obesity, parents make all the difference.
Some food allergies have similar symptoms to seasonal allergies, and others are DEADLY. One of my own kids is severely allergic to peanuts and another has a mild allergy to shellfish. We, like many families, live with epinephrine pens all over the house. My son has them at school and in his car, just in case he is exposed to peanuts and has an anaphylactic reaction. His symptoms are throat tightness, wheezing and difficulty breathing, among others. We have trained all the children to dial 9-1-1, in case of an emergency, and NO PEANUTS are kept in our house.
Eliminating a specific food is easier said than done, especially if you have several children. Lets look at egg allergies. The protein associated with egg allergies is usually albumin. So you just cut out eggs, right? Wrong! There are many products that might have this protein, such as pasta and marshmallows. Get the idea? Make sure you always read the food labels.
The good news for many food allergy sufferers is that time heals all, and many people do outgrow their allergies. But for those who are still suffering, the challenge is to avoid the problem.
In this privacy-obsessed world, especially with medical information, sharing your maladies with the rest of the world may just save your life. So next time you make a reservation at the new hot restaurant in town, tell them you want a table near the window, and that you have a wheat allergy!
Table for two — HOLD THE BREAD!
P.S. Don't forget to watch FOX News Channel. And please feel free to write to me at DRMANNY@FOXNEWS.COM and tell me what you think. Ask a question, share a thought, share a remedy — We'll try to answer all of your mail online or on the air.
Dr. Manny Alvarez serves as Fox News Channel's senior managing health editor. He also serves as chairman of the department of obstetrics/gynecology and reproductive science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. For more information on Dr. Manny's work, visit AskDrManny.com.