There is a large percentage of very young children who are diagnosed with a food allergy every day. This may be startling to a lot of parents and parents-to-be, but it does not have to be. A true food allergy may be life and death, and it stays with you all your life. However, a food sensitivity is just something to which children have not been adequately introduced or exposed, so they may break out in hives, or have a little trouble swallowing. When these kids get older, they seem to grow out of the problem, proving that it was not a true food allergy. So, will your child grow out of his/her "allergy"? Can you help him/her grow out of it? Here are the more curious questions and answers to this medical oddity of childhood.
Yes, He/She Can Grow Out of It
Children are being tested younger and younger for food allergies. The problem with that is that children have not had time to develop their immune systems. Immunological responses to strange new foods may be out of proportion to what the body has experienced, either in the womb or as foods were introduced in infancy.
Unless a toddler has a clear-cut severe reaction to a food, testing him/her for an allergy when he/she is yet so young will only result in some false "positives" for food allergies. That said, it is smarter to refrain from testing a child for food allergies until he/she is older and has been exposed to a greater variety of foods. In the meantime, if you have already tested your child for a food allergy, you can take heart in knowing that your child will very likely grow out of it.
Yes, You Can Help Your Child Grow Out of a Food Sensitivity
When it is not a true food allergy, but just a food sensitivity, you can help your child grow out of it. Exposure therapy is a technique that helps treat both physical and psychological health issues. In this case, you would very slowly, and in very small amounts, introduce the offending food to your child. For example, if he/she shows a sensitivity to peanuts, introduce a half or a quarter of a peanut to your child every day. Initially, he/she should only touch it, so that the body reacts without overreacting. When your child is asymptomatic to just touching the small amount of peanut, allow him/her to pick it up and eat it. It is a very long process, but eventually, it works. This can be done with practically any food.
For additional tips or information, reach out to doctors like Alidina Laila MD.