Allergies and intolerances

The three-day rule to prevent food allergies in children


The introduction of complementary feeding in children from six months of age creates some concern for parents about possible adverse reactions to some of the fruits, vegetables, eggs or dairy products. Do you know the three-day rule to prevent food allergies in children and, above all, to know how to detect them in time? Keep reading!

When starting with the supplementary feeding, If one rule is valid for all cases, it is to be patient. Not all children will accept new foods with the same attitude, and not all foods will create the same reaction, so, patiently and slowly, we must expose our baby to all the foods that we think are convenient.

However, and although it is not something scientific, parents talk about the three-day rule when introducing complementary feedingWhat is this rule about and what is its need for certain? Basically, the rule of three days (5 days if we are more cautious) consists of waiting, after the introduction of a new food in the baby's diet, these days before offering another new food, in order to relate the possible appearance of symptoms with the new food.

Allergies consist of an extreme and inappropriate reaction of the immune system in which the body itself reacts to a substance that does not present any danger, but that the body treats as if it were dangerous (food antigen). The body's defenses are put into operation, producing antibodies, and it is its reaction with the food antigen that stimulates the production of histamine, which is what triggers the appearance of symptoms.

Food generally triggers two types of allergies, by ingestion and by contact. In food allergies, inflammation and redness (urticaria) of the area (skin and mucous membranes) that has been in direct contact with the food antigen usually occurs first, usually lips and tongue.

Itching and redness in the nose, eyes and ears is also typical, although if it is touched, pimples, spots and itching can appear on the hands. In addition, respiratory symptoms can be aggravated if the throat becomes inflamed and the airways are compromised, requiring immediate treatment.

Gastrointestinal symptoms include abdominal cramps, vomiting, or diarrhea, and obviously, in cases of maximum hypersensitivity to food antigen, anaphylactic shock can occur. Anaphylaxis is a global reaction of the body to the allergen in which the vital organs can be affected, requiring a dose of epinephrine, better known as adrenaline, which increases the heart rate, constricts the blood vessels and dilates the airways, reducing the response of the immune system to food antigen.

To the introducing a new food into the baby's dietAlthough allergic reactions tend to appear in the first 24 hours, food intolerances tend to appear later, so it is better to wait at least 3 days (ideally 5) to rule them out.

During those days, we should only offer the baby, combined or not with the new food, foods that have already passed the 3-day test and we are sure that they do not produce an allergic reaction in the baby.

Thus, in case of symptoms, we can isolate the food antigen without problems, and continue the introduction of new foods. If the new food passes the test, it will add to the list of safe foods in our little one's diet. Other tips when introducing new foods into the child's diet are:

- Choose early hours of the day to offer new foods in place of dinner. In case of appearance of symptoms, it is better that these occur during the day and not at night.

- Extreme precautions if there are cases of food allergies in the family, not only with those foods but with others with high allergenic potential, as it could be genetic.

According to the Spanish Association of PediatricsAlthough cow's milk and eggs are the most common allergies in childhood, most children tend to overcome this allergy spontaneously by the age of 5. Other of the most frequent allergens are fish and shellfish, legumes (including soybeans), some fruits (strawberry, kiwi and peach / apricot) and above all, nuts.

Unfortunately, the only way to keep allergies under control is to completely avoid contact with the food antigen, so, unless recommended by the pediatrician in cases where introduction is controlled, it is better not to include these foods in the diet of the boy.

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Video: Food Allergy Awareness Public Service Announcement (September 2020).