Children's Hospital Colorado
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Just Ask Children's


Food Allergies: Take Control

If your child has a food allergy, preparation is vital.

A close-up of a creamy peanut butter on white bread

When Jadin, 12, was given a cookie by a classmate, she was told it didn’t contain nuts. Unfortunately, Jadin and her friend didn’t realize it was a peanut butter cookie. After one bite, Jadin immediately felt an uncomfortable tingling in her mouth and throat followed by difficulty swallowing and a stomachache.

Fortunately, Jadin had been prepared by her parents and had a Food Allergy Action Plan in place at her school that allowed immediate individualized treatment.

What are food allergies?

Food allergies can cause itching of the mouth and throat, throat tightness, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, sneezing, wheezing, itchy skin, hives, and, in rare cases, death. Taking proper precautions and having a plan of action can aid in effectively managing this chronic condition.

“By definition, accidents are always unexpected,” said Dan Atkins, MD, Allergy Section Chief at Children’s Hospital Colorado. “Having a personalized Food Allergy Action Plan and teaching children and their caretakers how to respond quickly to an accidental ingestion is an important part of keeping them safe.”

A Food Allergy Action Plan is best developed with the child’s physician and distributed to all the child’s caretakers. The following information should be included:

  • Foods that present a risk
  • Possible symptoms
  • Which medicines and the dose to administer based on observed symptoms
  • Emergency contact information (physician and parents)

A visual guide

Use this infographic to boost your knowledge of food allergies.

A colorful infographic about food allergies in children including symptoms such as swelling, vomiting, throat itching, wheezing and hives. Common food allergens are cow's milk, eggs, wheat, peanut, soy, tree nuts, fish, shellfish. Treatment is to avoid the food and carry an epi-pen. Food allergies happen in at least one in every 20 children. School risks include snacks in the classroom, sharing lunches and bullying. See an allergist for evaluation to get a diagnosis.

Take control of allergies today. Learn more about the Children’s Hospital Colorado Allergy Program.

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