As a parent, you may be worried when your child ends up feeling unwell, even though you may have ensured that your child is eating properly. Sometimes, the reason of falling sick could actually be the food, even home cooked meals!
Adverse food reactions in children are often known by various names such as food allergy, food intolerance etc. These terms can be confusing to determine these medical conditions and manage them.
Food reactions in children are mostly caused by food intolerance than by food allergy. Hence, it is essential for you to know about these two food reactions in your child to get a clear idea.
What Is Food Allergy? 
A food allergy in your child is a response to an immune system.
- It occurs when your child’s body mistakes a food ingredient (protein) as dangerous and develops a defense system with antibodies to resist it.
- The allergic reaction develops when there is a battle between the protein in the food and the antibodies in your child’s body.
- Generally food allergies are triggered in children by foods like milk, shellfish, peanuts, nuts, eggs and fish.
Symptoms Of Food Allergy In Children:
The various symptoms of food allergy in children can vary from mild to severe. Your child might experience one or more symptoms while suffering from food allergy:
- Stomach pain with cramps
- Difficulty in breathing
- Pain in the chest
- Swelling of airways of lungs
[ Read: Food Allergies In Kids ]
What Is Food Intolerance?
Food intolerance is a response by the digestive system.
- This occurs when some food items irritates your child’s digestive system or is not digested properly by it.
- The most common food intolerance condition in child is caused by lactose which is present in dairy products like milk.
Symptoms Of Food Intolerance In Children:
Your child would experience different symptoms which can be mild or severe and the sufferers of food intolerance would experience one or more symptoms.
- Stomach cramps
- Gas formation
- Stomach pain
[ Read: Soy Allergy In Children ]
What Triggers Food Allergies And Food Intolerance In Children?
Here is a look at what can trigger food allergies and food intolerances in your child:
a. Food Allergies:
Food allergy in children can be triggered by a number of reasons such as ingredients in the food, or the following:
- Food allergies occur owing to the sensitivity towards chemical compounds or natural compounds such as the proteins present in your child’s food.
- Some food allergies can occur in your child, even if one or more of your family members are allergic to certain foods. This also indicates that the genetic factor plays a vital role in triggering food allergies.
b. Food Intolerance:
A number of factors can trigger food intolerance:
- Your child’s body may be unable to digest products that contain lactose, food colors, preservatives, flavor enhancer and aversion to MSG or monosodium glutamate.
- Natural plant chemicals like salicylates that are present in veggies, fruits, juices, nuts, coffee and beer can also cause food intolerance in your child.
[ Read: Natural Allergy Remedies For Children ]
Difference Between Food Intolerance and Food Allergy In Children:
Understanding the difference between food allergy and intolerance can help you care for your child better:
a. Food Allergy:
It can be caused when your child consumes even a small amount of offending food and can occur again when the same food is consumed. In such cases, ensure your child stays away from such food completely.
It is easy to diagnose food allergy in children through some simple tests.
b. Food Intolerance:
Food intolerance in children is usually dose related. This means, your child will not experience food intolerance unless he eats a huge serving of it or has it regularly.
It is very difficult to diagnose food intolerance in children as there are very few tests available that offer reliable results.
How To Get Relief From Food Allergy And Food Intolerance? 
Make sure that you follow certain rules to relieve your child from food allergy or food intolerance.
1. Read the labels of the foods before buying, as it would help you to know if it has an offending ingredient which might be harmful for your child.
2.If your child has food allergy make sure you avoid giving those foods that cause it. However some foods such as fruits, vegetables or shellfish can be safe for your child, when cooked.
3.If your child has lactose intolerance, you can offer small amounts of dairy foods to remain safe.
4.If your child has a serious food intolerance condition, it is better to avoid some foods for a while.
- These rules should be followed after consulting your child’s doctor to make sure your child gets the best treatment needed.
- Any time you give your child a new ingredient, offer a small serving in the beginning and check if there is any allergic reaction to it.
- This way, you can be assured whether the new food is safe for your child or not.
We hope the above information will be useful for you in determining any food related allergy or intolerance issue in your child.
Do let us know if you have some more facts about these conditions.
Reference : 1 , 2
- 3 Simple Ways To Treat Peanut Allergy In Children
- Food Allergy In Children – Causes, Symptoms And Treatments
- 5 Types Of Soy Allergy In Children You Should Be Aware Of
- 7 Effective Home Remedies To Treat Allergies In Children