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Monday, July 7, 2014

How a Pediatrician in Littleton Helps Fight Food Allergies in Schools

A new set of guidelines recently released by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now specifically outlines the roles pediatricians play in managing food allergies in schools. Dr. Scott H. Sicherer, a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Allergy and Immunology Executive Committee, says the guidelines necessitate close cooperation among pediatricians, school officials, and parents. Considering the current statistics on food allergies among children in the U.S., the CDC certainly has a lot of reason to take action:

"Food allergy is estimated to affect up to 8% of U.S. children and appears to be increasing in prevalence. Studies show that almost 20% of children with food allergies have a reaction while at school, and 25% of anaphylactic reactions in schools occur in children with no prior diagnosis."

For kids and their parents, the CDC guidelines also provide more reasons to visit a friendly pediatricianin Littleton, like someone from Focus on Kids Pediatrics. After all, the things that trigger allergic reactions among kids—like milk, peanuts, and eggs—often find their way into cafeteria food. Yet while children can bring their own packed lunches to school, they may also unknowingly be exposed to a common allergen: wheat.

As the country’s most widely-consumed grain, wheat is also present in a lot of things the average American child may consume within a single day. An allergic reaction to wheat usually comes within a few minutes to an hour after exposure. Symptoms may manifest in the skin (i.e. hives, itching), digestive (i.e. nausea, diarrhea), respiratory (i.e. wheezing, shortness of breath), or cardiovascular (i.e. dizziness) system.

Considering that these symptoms resemble other ailments like gluten intolerance, a pediatrician would have to be consulted for confirmation. Wheat allergies stem from an overreaction of the immune system, while gluten intolerance or celiac disease is gastroenterological in nature. As such, the two conditions need to be identified as accurately as possible.

That said, food allergies aren’t the only thing a respected Littleton pediatrician should worry about. Spring in Colorado also coincides with an increase in airborne pollen, specifically from St. John’s Worts and sugarberries, which can cause allergies of a different kind. Consequently, pediatricians throughout the country are quick to urge kids and their parents to take heed of air quality alerts.

(Source: New guidelines outline pediatrician’s role in managing food allergies in schools, AAP News, May 27, 2014)


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