• Children's Center

    Mayo Clinic Minute: Food allergies can be problematic for kids around the holidays

For most people, Thanksgiving is a day to spend time with family, watch some football and feast on lots of food. But for children with food allergies, it can be an especially difficult time. Dr. Anupama Ravi, a Mayo Clinic pediatric allergy specialist, explains why parents of kids with food allergies have to be conscientious of everything that goes into their child's mouth around Thanksgiving.

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Thanksgiving may get your mouth watering in anticipation for turkey and stuffing, but it can be an anxious time for parents of kids with food allergies. With so many food options, it's too easy for a problematic food to accidentally end up on an allergic child's plate, says Dr. Ravi.

"Family members and relatives, they have the best of intentions, but they may forget that they used almond extract or some other allergenic food because, like, for example, we forget that butter contains milk. And somebody might put butter in a recipe and forget that there is dairy, or when a child has a milk allergy," Dr. Ravi says.

Someone might take a utensil from one item and scoop something else," Dr. Ravi adds. "So even that cross-contamination is very significant."

The result can be allergic reactions ranging from itchy hives, and tongue and lip swelling to throat closing and trouble breathing. Any of these reactions can be dangerous to a child.

So this holiday season, Dr. Ravi recommends parents of kids with food allergies remove all risk and doubt, and just bring foods they know are safe to family feasts.