A food allergy is usually very easy to spot - your child will get a reaction such as rash or stomach pain. But this may not be a permanent allergy. Luckily, some food intolerances are only temporary.

The most common food allergies are to milk, eggs, fish or nuts But beans, peas and the most common cereals can also produce allergies On the other hand, allergies to rice or corn are very rare

Instant reaction
If your child has a food allergy, you’ll usually notice it because an immediate reaction occurs, often within a couple of minutes The reaction could be vomiting, diarrhoea, loose bowels, redness around the mouth, a rash or hives

Food allergies vs food intolerances
Food intolerances and allergies are different Intolerances can be temporary, and can strike when your child’s immune system is low due to a recent infection
Rashes and other skin reactions don’t necessarily mean a food allergy Some children react to red or orange fruits and berries Wait a while and reintroduce them later This type of intolerance usually passes as children get older Even a milk protein allergy can pass with time

Starting solids
Giving your baby breastmilk (ideally) or formula as their only food for around the first 6 months may help prevent allergic reactions to some foods Once your baby is ready for solids, at around 6 months, try new foods one at a time every 2–4 days

If you suspect an allergy
If you suspect an allergy, or have a strong family history of allergies, see your doctor
Don’t experiment by excluding certain foods, such as milk, from your child’s diet without first consulting a health professional

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