AUSTIN -- Food allergies now affect 1 in 10 infants.
While many infants and children grow out of some food allergies, often they keep some. Some allergies can be severe and cause potentially life-threatening reactions known as anaphylaxis.
It's why doctors, parents and their children are trying to spread awareness during Food Allergy Week.
Six-year old Noah Lyons and 7-year old Ian Ohlmeyer enjoy some fun outdoors. You can't tell but both are allergic to nuts, and in Ian’s case, eggs.
“It was really bad,” said Ian. “I didn’t like it.”
“Really it just felt like something bad was going on,” said Noah.
“He was still an infant and I knew something was wrong,” said Nancy Flores, Noah’s mother. “People were kind of chalking it up to colic and other infant type illnesses, but I knew in my gut that something was different.”
It’s the same story for 5-year-old Danny who's allergic to eggs, wheat, peanuts and dairy.
“You learn very quickly that those ingredients are almost in every food that you eat that you don’t even think about,” said Dan Connor, Danny’s father.
Doctor Allen Lieberman, M.D., an allergist with Allergy and Asthma Center of Austin, says it’s not uncommon for children as young as infants and toddlers to be allergic to four to five different foods.
“What we’re talking about are real food allergies,” said Lieberman. “These are the food allergies where the child is at risk for anaphylaxis. If they eat the wrong food by accident or someone reads the label incorrectly these children are at risk for a very severe reaction.”
“It’s just a terrifying thing as a parent to know that at any given moment they could be in a life threatening situation,” said Kati Ohlmeyer, Ian’s mother.
Parents of children with food allergies always have an EPI pen at the ready. EPI is short for epinephrine. Now there’s a new device Auvi-Q which also administers epinephrine, but it’s more user friendly because it talks you through the procedure.
“A big part of Food Allergy Awareness Week is letting people know of the importance of carrying epinephrine and being able to administer it,” said Ohlmeyer. “Having those oral instructions in what could be a very stressful situation is comforting.”
Go here for more detailed symptoms of food allergies.