The ten guidelines to face Christmas with children who have celiac disease or food allergies


There are more and more cases of children who are allergic to any food, or in whom celiac disease is detected. Christmas represents a time when allergic reactions increase, largely as a result of the intake of new foods that are not part of the diet of the smallest during the year.

For example, it is a time when they take quite a few nuts, fruits, crustaceans and shellfish in general. Here we must not forget that any food can cause allergy, but those that generate it most, and in order of frequency are: cow's milk, egg, fish, legumes, fruits and nuts, especially the peanut.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recalls that an allergy to a food takes place when the body reacts against non-harmful proteins found in that food. “Fortunately, these types of allergies They are usually overcome during early childhood. It is estimated that between 80% and 90% of allergies to eggs, milk, wheat and soy disappear by the time the child is five years old. Some allergies are more persistent, ”he warns.

“In the vast majority of patients the effects occur in the next 30 minutes to intake Symptoms will vary between oral itching and anaphylactic shock, which is fatal if it is not reversed, ”he warns. Dr. Sergio Negre, gastroenterologist and specialist in food allergies of the Pediatric Service of the Hospital Quirónsalud Valencia.

As there are many symptoms and diseases that can be confused with food allergies, the AAP sees important for parents to know the symptoms that arise in a food allergy: skin problems, breathing, stomach and circulatory symptoms such as dizziness, paleness, or loss of consciousness. “If several parts of the body are affected, the reaction can be severe or even endanger the child's life. This type of allergic reaction is known as anaphylaxis and requires immediate medical attention, ”he warns.

On the other hand, Dr. Negre draws attention to two quite frequent conditions among the child population: lactose malabsorption, and celiac disease, which can also be affected by Christmas menus. “In both cases, the only proven treatment is the elimination in the diet of the food that causes the disease. On the other hand, in case of food allergy and severe reactions, it is recommended to have in the kit self-injectable adrenaline, oral corticosteroids and an oral antihistamine, ”says the expert of the Hospital Quirónsalud Valencia.

In his opinion, you always have to be alert as to the feeding of children, but especially during Christmas, where it is very common to eat outside the home, and where the allergen can be camouflaged in a menu that is not controlled by the parents or guardians of the child, who do not have to take care of the preparation of the menu.

“The triggering food can go unnoticed in the food, since they can be close to each other and remain remains by contact. You can manipulate food and, later, contact others without having washed your hands properly, use the same kitchen tools, etc. ”, warns Dr. Negre.

So with all this gastroenterologist and food allergy specialist Advise for these children to spend a safer Christmas:

1.- A good rule, if you have a celiac or lactose malabsorption at home, is adapt the entire menu so that there are no divisions and everyone tastes the same food.

2 ..- In the case of lactose malabsorption, the biggest problem is usually focused on snacks based on cheeses and sauces such as bechamel. There are numerous Internet pages and books in which to find recipes for starters that do not contain dairy in their composition, such as quail egg tarts with bacon, cod canapés with avocado cream, for example.

3.- With the celiacs, The main problem is in appetizers based on toasts, canapés and skewers. Although there are many certified gluten-free products at the present time, you can also opt for recipes that do not contain it, such as skewers on octopus-based teaspoons, cheese with pumpkin, etc.

4.- The first dishesIn many houses, they are usually soups or creams. In the case of not tolerating lactose, care should be taken that they do not contain cream, milk, or cheeses. Good substitutes are vegetable soups and creams, such as leeks, or squash. In the case of celiacs, add flour to thicken or croutons.

5.- There are also recipes suitable for coeliacs in the preparation of cakes, with special flours, or without resorting to them, with fruit bases or fruit mousses (mango with blueberries, for example), which are light and fresh options, much appreciated by children in general.

6.- In any celebration we make outside the home it is necessary to talk about the meals that the child cannot take. Offer to collaborate with the host to develop a safe menu. In most cases it is possible to create a safe meal, simply by adjusting small details in the recipe. It is essential to label everything and avoid cross contact between food.

7.- Share the limitations on food Among all those present will help prevent accidents. In case this is not possible, prepare the food separately, mark them properly, and serve them first.

8.- In case it is not possible to vary the food made by the host, bring a safe meal for the child who can eat there. Remember in that case also the snacks, as well as desserts.

9.- Keep the cutlery separated, as well as serving utensils, and properly washing hands before eating and handling food.

10.- Depending on the age of the child, you probably want to sit at the table near others. If there are dangerous foods for him, separate them at a suitable distance so you can't reach them accidentally.

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