A wheat allergy is a reaction by your child’s immune system to the proteins found in wheat. Our immune systems normally respond to invaders that attack the body such as bacterias or viruses. When a child has a food allergy their immune system mistakenly attacks harmless things, such as the substance found in wheat. Wheat is among the 8 foods that are responsible for most food allergies seen in children.
Allergic reactions to wheat usually begin within minutes or a few hours after eating or inhaling wheat. There are 4 types of protein found in wheat. They are albumin, globulin, gliadin and gluten. Your child may be allergic to any one of these proteins. Oats, rye and barley also contain gluten and may cause symptoms. Symptoms may included some of the following: Skin reaction such as eczema, hives, swelling, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, asthma and hay fever.
The only treatment for someone with a wheat allergy is to completely eliminate the foods that contain wheat. This will be very hard to do since wheat is the staple in the American diet. Its found in hundreds of foods such as pasta and breads. Many processed foods contain a flour-based thickeners.
Most of your daily foods will now have to be prepared from scratch using wheat free food products. Substitute flours such as potato, rice, soy and corn are often available in the health food markets or in the natural food sections at your local grocery store. There are a lot of wheat free Online stores available too. You will need to educate your self and start reading every single food label. If you child is old enough to read, start teaching them right away also.
Foods that contain wheat are: most breads, cakes, cookies, pastries, pasta, bread crumbs, most breakfast cereals, kamut, couscous, crackers, graham flour, enriched flour, whole wheat flour, cracker meal, soy sauce, hydrolyzed vegetables, vegetable starch and vegetable gum.
Another key thing that parents often forget is to tell the waitress if you are having a meal out. Its best to order simple dishes without sauces unless your sure there is no wheat present. Deep fried foods such as french fries are often cooked in the same fryer as breaded items were. Food preparation equipment , such as food processors, cutting boards, pans and knives may have also been used on something containing wheat.
Most any recipe can be modified to fit a wheat free diet. Wheat free flours do not provide the same results in standard recipes, so using a combination of flours works best. You will have to go through a lot of trial and error to find out what works best for you. They sell several wheat free cook books, you might want to invest in a few until you get the hang of things and know how to do proper substitutes.
School will be the biggest hard ship of all. You must tell the school about this allergy. tell them you will prepare all lunches at home so there are no dangers to them. You must educate your child and make sure they know its not okay to share food with anyone at school. Have the teacher call you if there is a special event or party planned so that you can bring a few modified treats that your child can enjoy and share with other kids.
With lots of education and some hard work you will be able to keep your child safe and wheat free. You might want to put them on a multi vitamin to insure they will be receiving enough vitamins. Also make an appointment with a pediatric dietitian to double check your child is okay with the amount of nutrition he or she is on.