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Case Study : Active Ten-Year-Old Child with Food Allergies

Case Study : Active Ten-Year-Old Child with Food Allergies
ProblemAt age two and a half, Malik developed eczema and a runny nose. After repeated episodes, his doctor suggested that his mum keep a food and symptom diary. This helped identify eggs and chocolate as potential triggers of his symptoms. A skin-prick test gave positive results for walnuts, chocolate, watermelon and eggs, but negative for peanuts, soya, citrus, gluten and dairy. Since then, an elimination diet has kept Malik free of symptoms. As he gets older he will be exposed to more situations where he is at risk. He wants to know what he can and cannot eat.
LifestyleMalik is a busy child who loves sport. He eats breakfast at home, which is usually cold cereal with semi-skimmed milk, a banana, and a glass of orange juice. He takes a packed lunch to school most days, which includes a turkey or cheese sandwich. On the days he buys lunch at school it’s usually a slice of pizza. Malik has either football or lacrosse practice for most of the year. He usually eats a snack before practice – some oatcakes with peanut butter or a piece of fruit and a sports drink. For dinner, he eats whatever is prepared for the family, which may be pasta with tomato sauce, or steak or chicken with green vegetables.
AdviceMalik has continued to show signs of food allergy when he has been tested by the doctor and has therefore not yet outgrown it, which happens with many children. Being allergic to chocolate, eggs and walnuts can be a challenge for a child, as well as his parents. Reading labels for these ingredients is the best bet for preventing exposure to the trigger foods. Homemade cakes and biscuits may also be a problem since they are likely to contain eggs. Now that Mailk is more independent, he can be allowed to make choices and may make some mistakes. He needs to learn to ask questions and to read food labels to avoid the foods that give him symptoms.