By Mary-Ann Shearer
What is an allergy, and how do you identify allergies in children?
An allergy could be defined as 1 of many physical reactions to a food or substance (see out article about Allergies and Hay Fever). Sometimes allergies are referred to as an intolerance. Allergies and intolerances can be identified and manifest in a variety of ways, but the most common signs to look for in a baby are: runny or stuffy nose
- skin rashes
- recurring infections
- behavioural problems
- difficulty in settling or sleeping
- inexplicable crying
- asthma or eczema
- inability to gain weight
- unexplained fevers
- arthritis [this has been seen in a 13 month old baby!]
- coughing or wheezing
Allergic reactions can be delayed
Reactions to a substance or food is not always immediate and can sometimes take 2 to 3 days to appear. Sometimes a child could eat a particular food three times in a row and then react. The reaction may differ considerably from child to child. When I eat dairy products for example, I develop sinusitis, my oldest daughter Melissa develops tonsillitis, my middle daughter, Marie-Claire develops rhinitis [runny nose] and my youngest daughter develops ear infections.
Is it possible for a totally breast-fed baby to develop allergies?
Yes, it is possible and in fact very common. Many mothers don’t realise that whatever food they eat can and often will affect baby. If for example a mother eats a small piece of cheese or a little yoghurt, a dairy intolerance baby will react. The reaction could be a stuffy or runny nose, tonsillitis, ear infections, coughing, skin rashes, diarrhea, constipation, bloating and possibly small amounts of blood in the stools.
Allergies in Children and Vaccination
Some babies appear to develop allergies or eczema after the first inoculation, is there a connection? There seems to be a definite link in some babies between inoculation and the development of allergies and eczema. The most common allergies or intolerance to appear is to dairy products and wheat. With the most common reaction resulting in eczema. It would appear that the vaccination suppresses the bodies ability to produce natural cortisone which is the substance responsible for controlling allergic reactions. If this is the case then it would appear that vaccinations upset the endocrine or hormonal system.
Can a parent with asthma and or eczema and affect the baby?
If one or other of the parents has asthma, eczema, or any other allergies or hayfever, this could indicate that the parent has weakened adrenal glands. In this case he or she cannot produce enough natural anti-inflammatory and antihistamine substances. There is a 50/50 chance of any offspring inheriting the weakened adrenal glands and subsequently the allergies. Both parents and children can live a very healthy life if a diet high in raw natural an unprocessed foods is followed.
What is a brain allergy and can babies be affected?
A brain allergy usually results in behavioural problems and develops because certain foods or substances are having a chemical reaction on the brain. Many children develop behavioural problems as a result of consuming refined sugar or carbohydrates. This is because these products rob the body of B vitamins which are catalysts in the brain. Catalysts make chemical reactions take place in the body. Without enough B vitamins certain chemical reactions cannot take place in the brain resulting in a behavioural problem. This could result in inexplicable crying, temper tantrums, hyperactivity, general bad behaviour or dullness and poor concentration.
What is it in dairy and wheat products that can cause allergies in children?
Most allergies and intolerance to wheat and dairy are due to the protein portion of the food eliciting an anti-body reaction in the body. This appears to happen for two main reasons, firstly, babies cannot secrete starch digesting enzymes in their saliva until they’re able to chew properly which is usually between the ages of 1 and 2 years. This results in fermentation of the food which can result in an anti-body reaction, usually directed at the protein portion of the food. If you want to feed a baby starches while they cannot chew then you should chew the food first to start the digestive process with the enzyme ptyalin that your baby cannot secrete yet.
Secondly, wheat and dairy products are usually introduced to a child together with refined sugar. A typical example is milk formula, biscuits, bread and jam, ice-cream, flavoured milk etc. Refined sugar has a suppressive effect on the immune system and this can also result in allergies over a period of time or an antibody reaction to the protein in the food.
Why do sugar or refined carbohydrates result in hyperactivity or behavioural problems in one child and not in another.
In some children the ability of the body to correct the blood sugar is not as efficient as in others. This results in huge swings between high blood sugar levels and low blood sugar levels, this in turn results in mood swings and or behavioural problems.
Some children get regular bouts of tonsillitis and ear infections regularly. Is this a form of allergies?
I’ve yet to find a child with either tonsillitis or ear infections that does not improve dramatically when dairy products are removed from their diet or if breast-fed, from their mother’s diet. Even minute amounts of dairy in the diet can cause discomfort in a dairy intolerant or allergic child.
Some doctors insist that allergies are related more to the house mite house dust than to a food allergy.
Unfortunately diet and dietary allergies are not included in medical studies, so many doctors are unaware of the many possible food allergies that exist. During the 1980’s an article appeared in pediatric circles laying the blame for most childhood allergies on the unsuspecting house mite. The house mite is usually only the last straw, with a weakened endocrine or hormonal system being the cause. Removing any foods such as sugar or foods containing sugar or refined carbohydrates, caffeine, vinegar and processed and heated fats and increasing foods containing natural vitamins particularly vitamin C, such as raw fruit and foods containing essential fatty acids such as mothers milk, avocado, raw nuts or seeds and cold pressed oil will help the endocrine system to be strong enough to cope with the lowly house mite.
The best dietary program to avoid allergies
The number 1 thing to do to avoid allergies in a child is to breast feed your baby for an absolute minimum period of 1 year preferably 2. Dr. Robert Mendelsohn, the well known American pediatrician and author of How to raise a healthy child in spite of your doctor, says that bottle-fed babies are that least 20 times more likely to develop allergies than breast-fed babies. I have found this to be the case when dealing with allergic babies or children.
The next thing to do is to make sure that your diet is high in fresh fruits and vegetables, remove all processed foods, caffeine, alcohol, additives and preservatives and all possible allergens such as milk or dairy products, wheat, gluten [found in wheat, oats, rye and barley]
Testing for Allergies
Ultimately, the best and most fool proof method is to eliminate possible foods and substances, one at a time for a period of 7 to 21 days. If the symptoms disappear then you’re on the right track. To double check reintroduce the food and the symptoms should return within 1 to 48 hours.
Other tests are available such as skin tests, blood tests or kinesiology. These tests are very often traumatic an extremely inaccurate.
Common Allergy Cuses in Food
|Most common allergy offenders||The better alternatives|
|cow’s milk||breast milk fortified soya or goats milk|
|cheese yoghurt||tofu can be used in place of both cheese and yoghurt|
|grains and starches before the age of 1||fresh ripe fruit is the easiest way for a baby to digest carbohydrates|
|Pork, beef, chicken||babies under 1 year do not need animal protein. Otherwise use tahini, tofu or free range chicken|
|artificial preservatives, additives and colorants[most common ones being Sulphur dioxide-found in colddrinks and dried fruit, Sodium benzoate-found in all margarines and many colddrinks, Tartrazine found in most sweets and colddrinks.]||Natural juices without added sugar or preservatives, Sulphur free dried fruit and raw butter. Make your own sweet treats using dried and fresh fruit with carob and raw honey.|
|water containing chlorine||use filtered water only|
Foods that help to prevent allergies
fresh ripe fruit
foods containing essential fatty acids
whole natural unprocessed foods
clean filtered water or natural spring water
dark green leafy vegetables that are high in SOD. Barleylife is highest of all the dark green leafy vegetables and is made from organically grown barley leaves that have been dried at room temperature.
“It is a sad fact that allergies and nutrition-receive little attention in medical school and constitute an area of vast ignorance in contemporary medical practice.”
Dr. Robert Mendelsohn-paediatrician
“It became evident to me that medicine at large as been negligent in examining the ecologic-organic evidence of food and chemical allergies as causes in both physical and mental illness.”
Dr. William Philpott-psychiatrist
“Allergies are caused by incorrect feeding of babies under the age of 1 year with cereals, meat and cow’s milk for which at that age the child lacks suitable digestive enzymes.”
Paavo Airola-American nutritionist.
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