Dell Children’s expands food allergy center

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Food allergies among children are on the rise. The number of children diagnosed with food allergies has increased by 18 percent in the last decade, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Food allergy affects approximately 2 kids in each school classroom, and can significantly impact quality of life similar to other chronic disease like asthma and diabetes.

Dr. Pooja Varshney, pediatric immunologist at Dell Children’s, was recently featured on KXAN highlighting the expansion of The Food Allergy Center at Dell Children’s Medical Center. The expanded center offers more exam space as well as a ‘food allergy kitchen’ where researchers can prepare food to use in local clinical trials, which Dr. Varshney says is also expanding.

Here is some helpful information regarding food allergies and children:

The 8 foods that account for most food-induced allergic reactions include milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, fish, shellfish and wheat.

Warning signs of an allergic reaction include hives, vomiting, diarrhea, cough/difficulty breathing and swelling occurring within minutes to no more than two hours after ingestion, and occur with repeat ingestion.

Avoid allergic reactions by carefully reading food labels for ingredients; when dining out, ask about ingredients and how food is prepared; and avoid passing allergens to food by washing hands.

Can food allergies be prevented? Research shows that early introduction of allergens like peanuts may prevent peanut allergy. A good time to talk about food introduction with your child’s pediatrician is at your child’s four-month well-visit.