This article was written by Noelle Martin, MScFN RD
How Childhood Allergies Can Lead To Eczema and Asthma
Did you know that a child who has a food allergy is also more likely to have eczema and asthma? The more food allergies that a child has, the more severe their eczema and asthma will likely be. The top allergens associated with these are casein in milk, peanut allergies (including legumes), and eggs. If your child has a food allergy, even if not anaphylactic, it should be taken serious by all who are in contact with your child as it could cause a flare up in their eczema and/or asthmas along with other direct allergen related symptoms. Here are a few strategies you can use to protect them from exposure that could lead to gut discomfort, skin irritation, and breathing concerns.
How to Prevent Allergies, Asthma & Eczema in Children
1. Keep all allergen containing foods out of your home. Discuss the importance of an allergen free home with all members of the family, even from a young age. We would never want to make the child’s siblings feel that they are responsible for the child remaining safe; however, it is essential that all children in the home are educated on what can and cannot enter the home.
2. Prepare a list for relatives of food items that cannot be in the home (or at least within reach) at times when you are visiting. You may also wish to list possible symptoms and negative outcomes that could result if the list is not adhered to.
3. Educate your child’s teachers and peers about the importance of the child remaining “dairy free” or “peanut free”. Let them know that you appreciate their help in keeping your child safe. You can add stickers to lunch boxes that help remind those in the lunchroom that your child has dietary restrictions. I really like these from Mabel’s Labels.
4. Teach your child phrases they are comfortable saying at times that they need to decline a food. A phrase such as “thank you for offering, but that food will cause me to have trouble breathing”.
5. Create fun experiences and “treat” options with foods your child can safely have. For example, during holiday celebrations there are often milk filled treats. You can make Snow Pudding with coconut yogurt and shredded coconut for your dairy free child or Soy Butter cookies for your peanut free child.
I hope these strategies are helpful for you as you help to normalize the experience of allergy free living for your child.