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. . . if avoiding certain foods during pregnancy can prevent food allergies in the baby? There's no conclusive evidence that restricting foods during pregnancy makes any difference. In fact, it's not recommended. Babies born to mothers who have restricted their diets during pregnancy often have lower birthweights. And eating a known food allergen during pregnancy won't cause a food allergy in the infant either. See "Food Sensitivities and Your Baby" in chapter 15 for more guidance. ... if breast-feeding can prevent food allergies in the baby? Perhaps so. For those with a family history of allergies, breast-fed babies are less likely to have food allergies. As a precaution against potential allergens in breast milk, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that nursing mothers of susceptible infants (with a family history of allergies) are wise to skip peanuts and peanut-containing foods. See "Breast-Feeding Your Baby" in chapter 15 for more information.

most are caused by allergens in tree nuts, eggs, peanuts, or shellfish (crustacea).

Is the reaction the same every time? Perhaps not. Its severity depends on two things: how allergic a person is and how much allergen is consumed.

Warning! If you—or a family member—experience severe food reactions, plan in advance how to handle accidental ingestion of the "trigger" allergen. The person should wear an identification bracelet or necklace to alert others, and should carry epinephrine (adrenaline) that can be injected quickly to counter the allergen. Your health care professional will give you a prescription. Because the body's responses can be life-threatening, call 911 or an ambulance immediately if someone has severe allergic reactions.

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