Allergies Explained – the Most Common Food Allergies

Allergies Explained – the Most Common Food Allergies

Food allergies happen when someone’s immune system responds to a substance that is harmless to most people. These substances are called allergens. Allergens and are often within the foods we eat, these are called food allergens. Dust mite and pollen are other common allergens.

Allergies may be mild to severe and can occur immediately after exposure to an allergen or may be delayed. Common reactions include skin hives, facial swelling or breathing difficulties. 

While children may be allergic to any food, the most common foods allergens include:

  • Nuts
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Soy
  • Wheat
  • Shellfish

If your child is allergic to one food this does not necessarily mean that they will be allergic to others. 

What to Do if you Think Your Child Has a Food Allergy?

If you think your child may have a food allergy it’s important to avoid the food and seek medical advice. Speak to their General Practitioner or Paediatrician as soon as possible. Their doctor will most likely refer them to an allergy or immunology specialist for further assessment. Whilst most children outgrow their allergy, it is very important to get medical input if an allergy is suspected.

Allergies and Intolerances. What’s the difference?

Allergies are different from intolerances. Allergies require the removal of all foods containing the trigger, even in small amounts. If you or your child has a food intolerance it is likely that they will be able to eat a small amount of the trigger food occasionally without discomfort. Food intolerances do not generally require complete avoidance of the trigger food.

How to Inform Staff of Your Child’s Allergy

Leaving your child in care with others can be daunting, particularly if your child has a severe food allergy. While most services are experienced in dealing with allergies, there are a few things you can do to ensure you and your child feel confident to be apart.

  • Openly communicate with staff: Please don’t ever feel like an inconvenience for communicating with staff at your child’s early learning centre or school. It is essential for Early Childhood staff to be aware of allergies and anaphylaxis prior to enrolment to ensure the safety of children within our care. If anything changes with your child’s allergy plan please ensure staff are made aware. Each child reacts to an allergen differently and it’s important that staff know what triggers your child, how these can be minimised and anything else that might help staff if they need to be aware of with a reaction.
  • Be informed: Jenny’s ELC takes pride in ensuring more than the legal required staff are trained in First Aid, CPR and Anaphylaxis. The team at Jenny’s ELC can talk you through our policy when managing allergies and anaphylaxis including how our “Allergy Buddies” are used in an emergency evacuation
  • Keep the Anaphylaxis Action Plan up to date: Ensure your child’s Anaphylaxis Action Plan is up to date and has a recent photo on it to be displayed clearly where all regular and visiting staff can see it.

Our kitchen staff are regularly updating their skills and knowledge around the safe provision of food and have regular training with a paediatric dietitian to ensure that their knowledge of allergies and allergy management is up-to-date.

A special thanks goes to Ambrosia Dietetics for their contribution in writing this article. Look at their Facebook page for more tips and advice!

At Jenny’s Early Learning Centre, you can be sure complete care will be taken in regards to your child’s food allergy. With high quality educators and learning opportunities, you can be sure your child will feel confident and safe within our care. Located throughout the Bendigo area, you can contact us to book a tour today.