Food Allergies in Children: How to Spot and Treat them Best


February, 2019

Over the past decade food allergy figures have risen significantly, with children being the main sector most affected.  The reasons for this have been much debated within the fields of both western and naturopathic medicine. 

In the western world our diet differs greatly to that of our ancestors, therefore many experts believe that or bodies now respond to certain foods in an adverse way. With food allergies in children on the rise, it’s vital that there is a clear action plan in place to deal with this situation if it ever occurred.

All of our wonderful Great British Nannies are first aid trained and know the course of action to take if a child in their care experiences an allergic reaction.

We all hope that our children will never encounter an allergic reaction to food, for example when eating out at a new restaurant.  In the instance that this happens, we’ve outlined how you can best handle this situation with confidence.

What is a food allergy reaction?

An allergic reaction to food happens when a person’s immune system overreacts to something they’ve ingested. The body responds to a harmless substance in the food, usually a protein, as though it were toxic. This immune system overreaction can cause a number of symptoms.

Food allergy symptoms in children

Indications of a food allergy will usually appear within a 30-minute window after consumption. Typical signs of a mild to moderate allergic reaction include abdominal pain, diarrhoea, and swelling of the face, lips or eyes. A severe allergic reaction is known in medical terms as an anaphylaxis shock which can be an incredibly distressing experience. Symptoms to be aware of include:

  • Finding it a struggle to breath or breathing noisily
  • Significant swelling of the tongue
  • Swelling or tightness in the throat area
  • Difficulty talking or a loss of voice
  • Wheeze or persistent cough
  • Young children can become ‘pale and floppy’ and unresponsive
  • Loss of consciousness and/or collapsing

Most common childhood food allergies

Many children grow out of their food allergies by puberty, especially children who are allergic to milk, eggs, soybean or wheat. However, allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish are more probable to carry through into adulthood.

Roughly 90 percent of food allergies are a result of:

  • hen’s eggs
  • soybeans
  • peanuts
  • tree nuts (e.g. Brazil, cashew)
  • wheat
  • fish and shellfish
  • dairy products inclusive of cow’s milk

What to do if your child experiences an allergic reaction?

Though a frightening experience, allergic reactions can be managed and eased effectively with the right course of action.


  • For severe allergic reactions, seek medical support by calling 999 (U.K) immediately when symptoms emerge.
  • For a child with a known severe food allergy, follow their anaphylaxis action plan. This video explaining EpiPen use is extremely helpful to learn more about how to assist most efficiently and effectivity in an emergency.
  • For less severe allergic reactions, administering an antihistamine and keeping an eye on the child for worsening symptoms may be all that is needed.
  • Talk to your local GP for further advice and support.

We hope this blog post has informed your knowledge on allergies and served both you and your family.  As always we love to hear from you so please reach out with any feedback or insights.

Teaching your child about healthy eating!