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Five Signs of Allergy in ADHD Children

It's a little known fact that ADHD symptoms are often provoked by allergies to dust, pollen, food, and chemicals. Could an undiagnosed allergy be the culprit behind your child's hyperactive, inattentive, or violent behavior? Here are five telltale signs that your child is suffering from an allergy.

  1. Bags or dark circles under the eye that makes your child look tired all the time. Some conditions that cause the eye to itch can cause these darker circles due to scratching or rubbing the skin surrounding it.  Children who suffer from hay fever usually have noticeable smudges on the under-eye during the peak of the allergy season.  Certain food allergies can also cause the under-eye area to appear darker. 
  2. Flaky, dry lips.  According to Chinese medicine, the lips represent parts of the digestive system – the upper lip is connected to the stomach, while the lower lip is connected to the intestines.  If your child suffers from dry, flaky lips, this could indicate an allergic reaction to food. It could also be a symptom of cheilitis, an allergic reaction caused by an ingredient in lip products, toothpastes, or mouthwash.
  3. Red or burning ears.  This particular allergic reaction is very immediate, occurring as soon as fifteen minutes after a child ingests an allergenic substance.  The red or burning ears can stay for as long as half an hour.  Common foods that cause the ears to redden include milk, dairy products, and wheat.
  4. Sweaty feet. The liver is the organ responsible for filtering and eliminating toxins.  When it is overworked, it tends to excrete waste material through the feet.  During an allergy attack, the liver has to cope with an excess amount of offending substances –hence, the sweaty feet. 
  5. Picky eating.  A child suffering from a number of food allergies is more likely to be a picky eater.  What's interesting is that the child's favorite food is usually the one that triggers the allergy attack.  Children are often more hyperactive or bad-tempered after they receive their favorite food. 

There are specialized blood tests that can determine if your child is indeed suffering from undiagnosed allergies. If allergy tests are positive, the ADHD treatment will involve removing the source of the allergen or desensitizing the child to the allergen.

Detecting food allergies is a little trickier; while a blood test can confirm an allergic reaction, it cannot identify which specific food caused it.  The only way to find out is to place your child on a rotation diet, a special kind of diet that involves avoiding a food family for three to five days.  For instance, on day 1, your child's meals contained wheat or wheat products. This means that all wheat products should be avoided for the next five days. The idea behind the rotation diet is to allow the immune system to expel allergenic substances, allowing you to identify the food that has caused the allergic reaction. You can easily tell through a change in your child's behavior or personality.  As soon as the culprit has been identified, the offending food has to be removed for a month, then slowly reintroduced so your child can eventually become immune to it.