Making the decision to have children is one most couples don’t enter into lightly. A lot of thought and planning goes into providing for and welcoming a new addition to the family. Children require love, nurturing, patience, and guidance. One job that parents have it to be vigilant of their child’s health and wellbeing. However, reading symptoms can be tricky. Some of the most difficult symptoms to interpret concern food intolerances, so it’s important to understand what food intolerance are and how they can affect your child.
These days, food allergy, food intolerance, and food sensitivity are often used interchangeably, but it’s important to distinguish the differences among them. A food allergy is an immune system response by the body. The onset of symptoms occurs immediately, as the body releases antibodies to fight the unwanted food in the system. An allergic reaction occurs and can range from itchiness and rash, to swelling of the throat and life-threatening anaphylaxis. Food sensitivity also involves the immune system, but reactions are far less severe and can take days to reveal themselves.
Food intolerance is the body’s inability to properly digest or process certain foods. The symptoms of a food intolerance are broad but primarily show up in the digestive tract. Food intolerances lead to improper digestion and undigested food. As the undigested food builds up in the large intestine, gas build up and bloating results. Other digestive symptoms include diarrhea, constipation, and vomiting, all symptoms of other common ailments in babies and toddlers.
The difficulty in dealing with very young children and toddlers is that their inability to verbally communicate how they feel. So, although there are some obvious signs of food intolerance with digestive discomfort, younger children may display some behavioral symptoms associated with the intolerance, rather than an obvious digestive one. Sleeplessness, irritability, crying, hyperactivity, and headaches can all be linked to food intolerances. Watching how your child behaves can be an indication he is not well.
Understanding the signs and symptoms of a food allergy, a food sensitivity, or a food intolerance, can help parents identify some of the underlying causes of their child’s discomfort and keep them healthy and safe.