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Children and Allergies

Having allergies can affect many parts of the body! It's not always just sneezing and hives. Allergies can manifest themselves physically, emotionally, or behaviorally.

What are the signs that your child may have allergies? Listed below are some signs, simply click on the signs for more information:

Physical Signs

Reactions to allergies vary in each child. Listed below are some possible signs of allergic reactions to foods, chemicals or the environment.

- Red-rimmed watery eyes
- Headaches
- Runny nose, sneezing
- Puffy eyes
- Hives
- Dark circles under eyes
- Rashes
- Bloated stomach
- Stuffy nose
- Diarrhea
- Red, blotchy skin
- Stomach cramps
- Eczema
- Red cheeks
- Itchy throat
- Red ear lobes

Emotional Signs

Reactions to allergies vary in each child. Listed below are some possible signs of allergic reactions to foods, chemicals or the environment.

- Fatigue
- Low Self-esteem
- Inability to concentrate
- Anxiety
- Extreme sensitivity to certain noises
- Reluctance to participate
- Mood swings
- Uncomfortable in crowds
- Extreme sensitivity to certain smells
- Uncomfortable in crowds
- Depression
- Extreme sensitivity to certain textures
- Behavioral signs

Behavioral Signs

Reactions to allergies vary in each child. Listed below are some possible signs of allergic reactions to foods, chemicals or the environment.

- Hyperactivity
- Overly talkative
- Inconsistent behavior
- Inability to sit still, even for a short time
- Delayed speech development
- Persistent scratching
- Learning disabilities
- Repetitive, rhythmic actions
- Impulsive behavior
- Unusually aggressive behavior

Maybe It Was Something i Ate

The Headache-Nutrition Connection

If you suffer headaches with frequency the odds are that your distress might indeed be related to something you eat. Here's how to find out for yourself.

Detecting Food Allergies: Basic Principles

Four basic principles should be kept in mind when setting out to test your own headache-food allergy connection:

1. To uncover the cause of your headaches, you must first uncover your headache occurrence pattern. When do the headaches occur? Under what circumstances, after eater which foods?

2. You are most often allergic to foods you eat most often, that is to say your favorite foods, the ones you "crave".

3. Food intolerances involve faulty immune responses and work in a cumulative fashion. One day your immune system might be in tip-top shape and you will tolerate the wheat toast, wheaties breakfast, and the spaghetti dinner. Another day, just the toast might trigger a headache.

4. Most food intolerance is found in association with faulty digestion and various vitamin/mineral deficiencies as well as in impaired immune system.

A Self-help Food Allergy Detection Program

The following self-help steps logically flow from the above principles:

Step #1: Keep a diary of all the foods you eat for at least three weeks. List what you have for breakfast, lunch, dinner and all snacks in between. In another column, parallel to the food diary, note how you feel between meals. Did you have a headache? Felt congestion or fatigue? Jot down any unusual stress (arguments, worry, sadness, etc) or other conditions you might associate with the headaches (for example, the weather, or missing a meal).

The three possible outcomes of Step #1 are:

(a) you may find a direct correlation between something you eat and the headaches. Every time (or almost every time) you eat, say cheese, you get a headache.

(b) you may find no direct, constant correlation but rather an occasional association. Sometimes you get a headache when eating cheese and other times you do not.

(c) you may not be able to see a relation at all between headache and diet.

Many times Step #1 alone does not reveal food allergies because often one must detoxify the allergen by abstaining from it in order to notice an allergy. Nonetheless it is an important first step and even if you do not succeed in detecting the cause of your headaches, by just keeping these records you will learn a great deal.

Step # 2: To identify your most likely allergens, make a list of your favorite foods. These are the foods you like the most, those you "would not like to live without" Frequently one craves the food to which one is allergic.

Allergenic foods hook your body into an addiction. As you ingest an allergic food the body secretes substances such as histamine, insulin, and adrenaline for protection. These substances cause a physiological rush, stimulating the body. As this seemingly pleasant biochemical effect wears off you undergo withdrawal symptoms and again crave the food to which you are allergic. Surely you yourself, or someone you know, have experienced withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, irritability after trying to omit coffee, sugar, chocolate, wheat or other allergenic/addictive foods from the diet.

Step # 3: With the list of favorite foods in hand, now go about eliminating them from your diet one by one and see how your headache pattern responds. Begin, for example, with coffee or wheat and eliminate it during four weeks, all the time keeping your diet - headache record. you must be patient and totally detoxify your body from the food being tested before using the food again in your diet.

After the four week test period, reintroduce that food into your diet by eating it alone, say have a meal of toast or spaghetti if you have been avoiding wheat. Watch carefully for symptoms: headaches, runny nose, fatigue. The pulse test developed by Dr. Coca is an additional way to see just how that food stresses your body. If you get no immediate reaction, keep introducing the food and see how much of it you can consume before reaching tolerance (i.e. before getting a headache).

Remember Principle #3, food sensitivities are cumulative - you might be able to tolerate one dose a day but not two. In addition they function in combination with other substances that stress the immune system, thus the total toxic and stress burden must be considered in your resistance or susceptibility to an allergen. Food allergies are aggravated by anything that challenges the immune system, such as stress, smoke, pollution, chemical poisons, or radiation.

The Most Common Problem Foods

Should you fail to recognize any cravings or favorite foods which you "can't live without" test yourself for the foods most commonly found to cause an allergic response. Research over the years has designated the most common offenders to be: wheat, milk, cheese, chocolate, sugar, peanuts, corn, eggs, citrus, pork, and many of the 3,000 preservatives and chemical additives allowed in the U.S. food supply.

Why Can Sugar Cause Learning And/Or Attention Problems in Some Children?

Sugar, because it stimulates the flow of insulin, depresses the amount of glucose in your child's bloodstream. Net enough glucose, the brain's source of energy, is carried to the brain. Among the many symptoms of low glucose are: irritability, loss of concentration and attention, faltering memory, depression, anxiety, lightheadedness, dizziness, insomnia, fatigue, and exhaustion.

Facts About Food Additives.

Additives must be detoxified by body enzymes. Some hyperactive children lack phenolsulphotransferase-P an enzyme needed to detoxify certain intestinal bacteria. Food dyes inhibit this enzyme so it doesn't function properly. So the hyperactivity can be due to the presence of certain detoxified bacteria.

Living With Food Allergies

Healthy people should be able to eat all foods, yet most North Americans cannot do so. Once you know the substances to which you are allergic, follow the next steps to overcome that allergic response.

Make a list of the problem foods. Be sure to include all food products that include that item. For example,virtually all bread contains wheat. Now avoid these foods as much as possible. An initial avoidance period of two to three months is ideal. After this period you can probably introduce the food to which you are allergic by abstaining from that food for a number of weeks. Then allergenic food can usually be tolerated in small amounts every four days or so.

The success of programs designed to provide systematic dietary variety has lead to the popularization of man "rotation diets". Several books provide information on how to establish your own rotation diet. Native peoples all over the world regularly consume hundreds of different plant and animal species, while some fifteen to twenty foods comprise the average North American diet. We tend to become allergic to that which we over consume.

Do everything within your power to correct any existing nutritional deficiencies. A professional diet analysis will provide accurate data on your intake of all the forty essential nutrients. Remember your body only requires forty essential nutrients for its manufacture of some 10,000 chemicals. A deficiency in any one of the essential forty can lead to systemic breakdown; one symptom of which is susceptibility to allergies. As a rule, a person with allergies requires at a minimum additional amounts of vitamin C, the B complex vitamins (especially pantothenic acid) and the minerals zinc, chromium, and manganese.

Be vigilant in enhancing and rebuilding your immune system. Here key nutrients such as vitamin E, vitamins C and A, zinc, selenium, and the essential fatty acids all play important roles. Limit as much as possible your exposure to substances which damage the immune system. This includes all poisons, smoke, food additives, air pollutants, alcohol, mercury-containing dental fillings and the like.

Evaluate your digestion. Do you suffer from intestinal gas, burping, acid indigestion, heartburn, constipation or diarrhea or both? Some weakening of the digestive system is often associated with the allergic response.

Finally remember that stress aggravates food allergies and allergies can produce headaches. Take seriously the challenge to understand and mitigate the stressors in your life while also looking to see how you can build your body's resistance to stress. Poor nutrition leaves you less able to cope with stress and any increase in stress directly taxes your nutrient reserves.

Dairy Products

Look for these ingredients if your child is allergic to dairy:

- whey
- whey syrup sweetener
- casein
- caseinate
- lactose
- lactate
- lactoalbumin
- lactoglobulin
- milk
- cream
- butter
- Kefir

Foods Containing Dairy:

- cakes
- cheese
- yogurt
- milk powders/milk solids,/non-fat milk solids
- cookies
- baked goods
- batters
- puddings
- gravies
- cheese - even soy based cheese contains casein
- carob chips
- sauces
- some non-dairy creamers contain caseinate
- margarines or shortening containing whey
- custards
- candy bars with fillings, milk chocolate and nougat
- bisquick
- sausages and hot dogs have dry milk added
- ovaltine
- many salad dressings

Patient Stories

Here is a story of a child that was mistaken to have ADHD and a Learning Disorder when in fact was being affected by Food Allergies. Read Jerry's Story.