Allergies–both food and environmental are perhaps the most ubiquitous symptom of this epidemic of chronic illness. In fact, very few children these days show no signs of any allergies or allergic-type sensitivities. There are many subtle signs of allergies that are often missed by parents and pediatricians.
If your child demonstrates any of the following signs or symptoms with frequency, it is likely that he or she has some sort of allergy or food/environmental sensitivity:
- One or two red cheeks and/or ears after eating
- Dark circles or bags surrounding the eyes/”droopy” eyes
- Patches of red, dry, scaly skin commonly referred to as eczema
- Frequent diaper rashes in babies
- Red ring around the anus
- Cradle cap or excessive scaling and dandruff on the scalp
- Chronic runny nose or cough
- Chronic diarrhea
- Alternating diarrhea and constipation
- Sensory disorders
- Nighttime bedwetting or frequent accidents in potty-trained children
- Excessive drooling in children too old to drool
- Babies who chronically spit up, vomit or regurgitate, reflux
- Frequent temper tantrums, inexplicable behavioral issues
- Hives or other skin rashes
- Excitability or hyperactivity
How Do I Know If My Child’s Symptoms Are Related to a Food or Environmental Allergy?
There are several tests or methods for determining whether or not your child has allergies or sensitivities. Find an integrative physician, allergist, nurse practitioner or other healthcare provider to help you determine your child’s particular sensitivities.
1) Ask for an IgE skin prick or scratch test for suspected allergens. This requires “scratching” the skin and exposing your child to particular allergens to look for a response. Alternatively, you may ask for an IgE RAST or serum test.
This is a blood test and requires a blood draw. IgE tests are considered the “gold standard” among allergists, but typically only test for a dozen or more allergens. To test for a wider variety of substances, you may need to ask for an IgG panel. See below.
2) Ask your practitioner for a delayed allergy or food sensitivity test. While there is no consensus on a true “gold standard” test for delayed allergies and food sensitivities, there are some useful tools available.
- ELISA/ACT Biotechnologies offers a lymphocyte response assay (LRA) test that can help you identify specific food sensitivities or delayed allergies. These types of allergies/sensitivities will not show up on the traditional IgE/skin prick test administered at your allergists office. You can test for hundreds of possible allergens using this methodology. The LRA Test
- Muscle Testing for Food and Environmental Sensitivities. There are many types of practitioners ranging from chiropractors to applied kinesiologists to practioners of NAET and BioSET and AAT who use “muscle testing” or muscle response testing as a pseudo-diagnostic. While this methodology has not been validated by medical science, it has been studied with positive findings, and anecdotally it has been used by thousands of people to help them identify troublesome foods and immune-system triggers. This particular methodology may only be as good as the practitioner who applies it, but it can be an extremely helpful tool in the hands of a good practitioner. Some practitioners who use this method include: BioSET, NAET, AAT.
- Another tool, although imperfect is the IgG test that can be used to help identify some food or environmental sensitivities. The test is known to frequently have false positives and false negatives (or may identify “problem foods” that are not really problems at all), but is often used by practitioners as a rough guide to gauge possible foods that are reactive for an individual. An IgG panel can be done using a blood draw or by a single finger prick, depending on the company and the test.
3) Consider asking for a celiac panel. Celiac disease is significantly underdiagnosed, but it is worthwhile determining whether or not your child is allergic to wheat/gluten.
4) Keep a food log. Write down everything your child eats for a period of several weeks; also write down any observations you make with regard to your child’s behavior/symptoms (e.g., record whether or not your child’s cheeks become red after eating particular foods, notice behavior after particular foods, etc.)
5) Consider doing a food challenge test. Remove a suspected allergen (e.g., dairy or wheat) for a period of several days. Notice whether there is any improvement in symptoms. Reintroduce the food and pay careful attention to any symptoms that arise.
For more information see:
Is This Your Child by Doris Rapp
Healing the New Childhood Epidemics by Dr. Kenneth Bock