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Food Allergies and Other Sensitivities in Children
Wednesday, December 20, 2017 - 12 Noon (Eastern Time)

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Jaclyn Bjelac, MD.

  • Center for Pediatric Allergy
  • Cleveland Clinic

If your child has a food reaction for the first time, it can be a scary experience. A food allergy is caused when the body's immune system mistakes an ingredient in food—usually a protein—as harmful and creates a defense system (special compounds called antibodies) to fight it. An allergic reaction occurs when the antibodies are battling an "invading" food protein. Although a person could have an allergy to almost any food, most allergies are triggered by milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat.

Take this opportunity to ask pediatric allergist, Jaclyn Bjelac, MD, your questions on pediatric allergies.

Our Pediatric Allergy department is actively involved in allergy research and specific testing, so our child and adolescent patients and families receive the most current treatment options and programs.

We provide pediatric patients easy access to either scheduled or emergency medical services. Pediatric allergy patients also have the choice of being seen at the main campus or at one of our community hospitals or family health center locations. Cleveland Clinic Children's Pediatric Allergy department provides a variety of outpatient and inpatient services for children through the age of 21, suffering from common and unusual allergic and immunologic disorders.

Symptoms of a food allergy can appear almost immediately or up to two hours after the food has been eaten. Symptoms include a tingling sensation of the mouth, swelling of the tongue and throat, hives, vomiting, abdominal cramps, difficulty breathing, diarrhea, a drop in blood pressure, and loss of consciousness. Severe allergy reactions called anaphylaxis, can result in death.

The best way to cope with a food allergy is to strictly avoid the foods that cause a reaction. Mild reactions often will subside without treatment. For rashes, antihistamines will help reduce itching, congestion, and other symptoms. In life-threatening situations, an epinephrine (autoinjector) injection immediately begins reversing symptoms and is the only effective treatment option.

About the Speaker
Jaclyn Bjelac, MD, received her medical degree from Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine, followed by her residency in pediatrics at University Hospitals of Cleveland. She then completed her fellowship with the Cleveland Clinic with a focus in allergy and immunology. She was appointed to Cleveland Clinic’s staff in 2017.

To make an appointment with Jaclyn Bjelac MD, please call 216.444.5437 (KIDS) or visit us at clevelandclinicchildrens.org for more information.

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