Food Allergies in Children
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Recent studies show an increase in food allergies in children. In this episode of The Lab, Daddy Clay and Daddy Brad talk to Dr. Rayner Dickey who tells parents what they need to look for to determine if their child has a food allergy. What are the the main allergy symptoms? What are the top allergens? Can breastfeeding reduce allergies in kids? Can eating solid foods affect whether or not your kid develops an allergy? Find out the answers to these questions and more in this video.


Daddy Clay: Recent studies show a dramatic increase in food allergies in children. What parents need to know today in The Lab. Daddy Brad: Daddy Clay, did you know that Oexo-Tek certification guarantees that textiles used in baby products are free of harmful chemicals and pesticides? It's true. Did you also know that BabyBjorn is Oexo-Tek certified, safe for your baby, BabyBjorn. Daddy Clay: You know Daddy Brad, one recent survey in the Boston area showed that ER visits related to food allergies in children doubled between 2001 and 2006. Anecdotally, we see peanut-free classrooms popping up all over the place. What's going on here? What do we need to know? What do parents need to be on the lookout for when it comes to food allergies? Daddy Brad: To get some answers, we asked Dr. Rayner Dickey of Holistic Family Medicine here in Austin. Dr. Rayner Dickey: Food allergies are reactions of our body to proteins. They often are developed when we're young. And probably have to do with both genetics and our childhood eating habits. Breastfeeding is a good way to try and kind of keep them at bay. So, that's one of the reasons we encourage moms to breastfeed, at least up to the fourth month. But if we can get them to go to the sixth month, that's great. Milk-based formulas, when they're not broken down, gives a kid a real early exposure to casien protein. Casien is a milk protein. And the problem with those proteins like casien protein is that they have a really strong bonds that don't break down very well. And so your immune system often will flag these things with an antibody. Antibodies then make your immune system go, "Ah, kill this thing. It's bad." So then you go wow okay what's bad, gluten or milk or whatever it is that you were eating. And in the case of the kid doing formula, then it's gonna often be the milk-based formulas because they're the most common kind. We like parents to never feed solid food till the sixth month of age. But a lot of parents go a little earlier. And when you go earlier and depending upon what you're choosing, you might be teaching your kid, giving kid an exposure when they're not ready for it. The classic symptoms are of course, they have gut issues. They swell, they have cramping, they have discomfort. Asthma. The rhinitis, the nose is swollen, congested, lots of mucus. The eyes are itchy, runny, red. And then the skin reactions. So your eczema where you have dry skin at the creases in the diaper area. What do you do when you know somebody has an allergy? How do you figure out what it is? How do you figure out what to do about it? Well, I think the best way to do it is do an elimination challenge diet. You eliminate down to one food you know your kid tolerates just fine. We have them eat that and that food alone. Now this works for adults too, for four days. And then you add something else. And then you add something else. And every time you go four days and then till you've added back all the kinds of food you eat. You will find that food by doing that. The big eight allergens right. You've got the group of dairy, milk, ice cream, butter. Your wheat, then egg, seafood, shellfish, corn comes in there too, and then lastly would be the soy. Tree nut allergies are also really prominent. When you do then know somebody had an allergy, it is a really good idea for the safety of that child to keep EpiPens around. And they have EpiPen Jr. which is the smaller dose for a kids size injection. Avoidance, that's really the best treatment in any kind of an intolerance or an allergic type situation is avoid the offending agent as best as you possibly can. Daddy Clay: Now you know Daddy Brad, there's one theory about food allergies out there that may be of interest to you given your OCD. It's called the hygiene hypothesis. And it holds that the enemy may be our cleanly lifestyle. So babies that are not exposed to germs at an early age may develop an immune system that's more hostile towards substances that normally would be benign like food proteins or pollen. It's just a theory. Daddy Brad: So you're saying that if we all follow the 30-second rule and let out kids eat a little dirt, we can wipe out allergies? Interesting. You know what, I wish I was allergic to cheeseburgers and then that would kind of help me with this. Daddy Clay: Daddy Brad may joke about these things but we know from friends that food allergies with kids can be serious business. So if you've got experience with this, stories to tell, please join the conversation at Daddy Brad: Like to thank our sponsors BabyBjorn. Your baby is never safer than riding in a front carrier from BabyBjorn, snuggled up next to daddy. That's all for us here at The Lab. See you next time.