A food allergy occurs when your child develops an over-reaction to food that is usually harmless to the body, says Dr Dawn Lim, consultant paediatrician at Kinder Clinic at Paragon.
These can range from a subtle rash to dramatic breathing difficulties, which can occur within seconds to even days after, adds Dr Lim, who is also the author of Childhood Allergies: All You Need to Know About Your Child’s Allergy.
If you spot any of these common symptoms in your child, consult a doctor.
He may get rashes, known as hives, around the mouth. These are raised, red and itchy bumps that look like large mosquito bites. Food-related allergies can also cause eczema.
2. Itchy mouth, eyes or nose
Look out for sneezing and if he keeps rubbing his eyes and nose. He may also complain of an itchy or tingling mouth and tongue.
3. Swollen eyes and lips
While the sudden swelling may seem frightening, it’s not dangerous if your child is otherwise well, talking and breathing comfortably.
4. Breathing difficulties and wheezing
This can be life-threatening and will require prompt treatment. If you do not know how to handle such situations, seek medical attention immediately.
5. Vomiting, stomach cramps and diarrhoea
These symptoms are similar to those of food poisoning. But the difference is that in a food-allergy reaction, your child will not have fever and the vomiting and diarrhoea usually resolves quickly.
Sometimes, fresh blood or mucus can be found in the stools. Take note to see if the same reaction occurs the next time your child eats the same food.