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Food allergies on the rise among children - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Food allergies on the rise among children

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SHREVEPORT, La. -  Childhood food allergies are a major cause of concern for parents as they can sometimes lead to serious consequences. 

These allergies are on the rise among American children. 

There are eight types of food that account for nearly 90 percent of all allergic reactions:

- milk

- eggs

- peanuts 

- tree nuts

- fish

- shellfish

- soy and wheat

But why the sudden onslaught of reactions to food?

Dr. Sami Bahna, chief allergist with LSU Health Shreveport, has weighed in saying food allergies can be traced back to what you feed your baby.

"Food allergies in particular are increasing due to multiple factors, first, the early introduction of food to babies. Babies can grow very well up to the age of six months preferably on one food -- the mother's milk alone or one formula," said Bahna.

Bahna advises parents to watch their diets and eat more simply and avoid overeating and consuming too many complex, processed foods. This can contribute to food allergies.

He recommends women breast feed as long as possible and, if you suspect your child already suffers from allergies, get an exact diagnosis from a specialist.

"The burden will be much less on the children and on the family if we just diagnose the right ones and the school will calibrate to us. It will be much easier for them," said Bahna.

Specific information about your child's food allergies can help school officials and day care specialists ensure they never have a reaction.

Amy Bowman with the day school at Broadmoor Baptist church believes parents are more informed than ever about their children's allergies. 

The day school deals with food allergies on a case-by-case basis.

Parents are expected to report their child's allergies to the school and provide epinephrine injectors for them if needed. Staff are educated on protocol should a reaction occur. 

"Almost all of them have already been to the doctor. Sometimes they come in with letters and already have Epi pens if they're allergic. The parents seem to be very much on top of the allergic situations," said Bowman.

Although allergies to peanuts and tree nuts typically cause the most severe reactions in children, data show that parents are more likely to feel stress over egg and milk allergies because the foods are so prevalent.

Still, a recent study conducted by the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology on 305 caregivers showed that only 64 percent of them correctly perceived the severity of their child's allergies to food.
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