Food Allergies (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
The best treatment for food allergies is to avoid the food that causes the allergy. When that isn't possible, you can use medicines such as antihistamines for mild reactions and the medicines in an allergy kit for serious reactions.
Start by telling your family, friends, and coworkers that you have a food allergy, and ask them to help you avoid the food. Read all food labels, and learn the other names that may be used for food allergens.
If your baby has a milk or soy allergy, your doctor may suggest either that you change the formula or that you feed your baby only breast milk. Specially prepared formulas are available for infants who have soy and milk allergies.
If you or your child has mild allergies, your doctor may suggest nonprescription antihistamines to control the symptoms. You may need prescription antihistamines if over-the-counter medicines don't help or if they cause side effects, such as drowsiness.
If you have a severe allergic reaction, your first treatment may be done in an emergency room or by emergency personnel. You will be given a shot of epinephrine to stop the further release of histamine and to relax the muscles that help you breathe.
How to treat a reaction
If your doctor has prescribed an allergy kit, always keep it with you. It contains a syringe of epinephrine and antihistamine tablets. Your doctor or pharmacist will teach you how to give yourself a shot. Be sure to check the expiration dates on the medicines, and replace the medicines as needed.
For step-by-step instructions on how to give the shot, see:
You should also wear a medical alert bracelet or other jewelry that lists your food allergies. You can order medical alert jewelry through most drugstores or on the Internet.
Children and food allergies
It's important to take special care with children who have food allergies. A child with severe food allergies may have a life-threatening anaphylactic reaction to even a tiny amount of a food allergen. Your child should always wear a medical alert bracelet and carry an allergy kit.
Make sure that all caregivers (school administrators, teachers, friends, coaches, and babysitters):
Children may have only mild symptoms in the first few minutes after they eat the food allergen, but they may have severe symptoms in 10 to 60 minutes. Children always should be observed in a hospital for several hours after a reaction.
Make sure that your child:
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