When a child suddenly becomes sick after eating, it could point to a food allergy.

Young children of preschool age sometimes have rashes, runny noses, and upset stomachs. When the child was fine before eating and suddenly develops peanut allergy symptoms after eating a peanut butter cookie, it’s time to pay close attention.

Parents of young children should always watch their child’s reaction when they feed him a food that he has never eaten before. According to the Mayo Clinic, allergic food reactions are most likely to occur from a few minutes after eating a food up to an hour after finishing it.

Know the symptoms of food allergies

One of the most important things that a parent can do for her child is to know the symptoms of food allergies. A child who suddenly begins to swell on her lips, tongue and face after eating could be having a serious allergic reaction. Hives may develop, and the child may have itching of the mouth and trouble breathing and swallowing. Some other symptoms are wheezing or struggling for breath, abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea.

Get immediate medical treatment if symptoms are severe

Although it is rare, it is possible for a child to develop a life-threatening allergic reaction to peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish, egg or shellfish called anaphylaxis. Emergency medical treatment is needed immediately because the child may go in to shock and could die from a severe reaction. Call 911 immediately and tell the life squad what your child has just eaten if serious symptoms develop.

Minor reactions should be reported to your pediatrician

Identifying a minor food allergy in your child is also very important. Many parents keep a food journal and write down any reactions to foods that their child has experienced. Report the fact that your child developed a runny nose and rash after eating a peanut butter sandwich to your child’s doctor. Make sure that all peanut products are kept out of the child’s reach. Your pediatrician will probably refer your child to an allergist for testing and treatment.

Food allergies usually occur in children

According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI), food allergies usually occur in babies and children. They do sometimes show up in teens and adults. A food that has never been a problem could suddenly cause you to develop allergy symptoms.

As many as 4 percent of adults have food allergies. Most people are allergic to one or two foods, which are sometimes related. A person allergic to peanuts may also be allergic to soy, peas or some kinds of beans, according to the ACAAI.

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