It’s that time of year again when Easter eggs are filling the shelves, alongside hot cross buns.
It’s the time of the year to spend with friends and family and overload on all things chocolate!
It’s the time of year to be aware of food allergies.
Chocolate often contains ingredients known for causing allergies or food intolerance, so it is important to read labels before giving your child chocolate – especially for the first time.
Can you be allergic to chocolate?
Chocolate itself doesn’t often make the food allergy list, but ingredients often found in chocolate do.
- Wheat and gluten
What are the signs of an allergic reaction?
Regardless of whether you have a history of food allergies in your family, it’s important to know and watch for the following signs of an allergic reaction:
- Wheezing, difficulty breathing or asthma symptoms
- A runny nose or sneezing
- Red or watery eyes
- Swelling of the face, lips and eyes
- Tingling mouth
- Vomiting or diarrhoea
In the event of difficulty breathing and/or swelling of the tongue or throat, seek medical attention right away.
Less severe reactions can take several days to appear and might include eczema, diarrhoea, or constipation.
What to do if someone is having an allergic reaction?
Doctor Ryan Harvey from House Call Doctor (a home doctor service) said an allergic reaction could turn fatal in seconds.
“The signs may not always be obvious, so it‘s important to know what to do if someone does go into anaphylaxis, the most severe form of allergic reaction,” Dr Harvey said
“Lay the person flat, do not allow them to walk or stand, and call 000 immediately.
“If available and trained to do so, administer an adrenaline autoinjector, otherwise known as an EpiPen.”
What’s the most common food allergy in Australia?
One of the most common allergies in Australia is a peanut allergy, affecting almost three in every 100 children.
A peanut allergy can also occur for the first time in adults.
If my child is allergic to peanuts, are they allergic to other nuts?
Contrary to popular belief, the substance which triggers an allergic reaction is in a food’s protein – not the actual food itself.
Most people are generally only allergic to one specific protein, thus only one particular food.
An individual who is allergic to peanuts is not necessarily allergic to all nuts. The protein within a peanut is completely different to those in tree nuts (such as almonds, walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts, and pistachios) as peanuts are in fact legumes.
Will my child always be allergic to certain foods?
Many children outgrow allergies to foods like milk and nuts as they get older.
If you are diagnosed as an adult, you’re more likely to be stuck with your sensitivity.