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Food allergies in kids are usually caused by the body's immature immune system or immature intestines. This happens when an allergen in food causes the body to release histamines. The symptoms are rash, itching or swelling around the mouth or hives. Other serious symptoms are respiratory problems and gastrointestinal upsets. Severe symptoms are facial swelling, dizziness and drop in blood pressure. These warrant immediate medical attention.

For symptoms of hives and rash, the doctor can prescribe antihistamines for relief.

Common food allergies are caused by milk, eggs, peanuts, wheat or soy products, gelatin and honey.

Food allergies must not be confused with food intolerance which is caused by a digestive problem. Food intolerance happens when the body can't digest a food chemical and this causes diarrhea and stomach pain. Common food intolerances are lactose intolerance and sorbitol intolerance.

There's no cure for food allergies. So the best treatment is to avoid the culprit foods. Luckily, most children outgrow food allergies by the age of 6. Peanuts and other nut allergies are queer allergies which remain for life. Toddlers' allergies to milk and eggs are usually outgrown by the age of 3.

If your child has food allergies, implement the following measures as precautions. Supervise the child's food consumption closely. Teach him what not to eat and explain why. Notify your friends, relatives and the child's teachers his allergies and treatment to take if any.

Read processed foods' labels to ensure that ingredients don't include food allergies.

When eating out, ask about the ingredients in the dish or specify that you want total exclusion of certain food ingredients.

Keep a food diary when introducing new foods to a child. If any symptoms appear, check the diary for any suspect foods consumed.

Be informed of what to do in case a severe reaction breaks out. Prompt action saves lives.