Are you expecting a little bundle of joy and suddenly find yourself wondering, “Can you develop food allergies when pregnant?” Well, let’s dive into this intriguing topic and separate fact from fiction!
During pregnancy, your body undergoes numerous changes, including shifts in hormonal levels and alterations to your immune system. These transformations can have unexpected effects on your relationship with food. From cravings to aversions, pregnancy can bring about unique culinary experiences.
But here’s the big question: Can pregnancy actually lead to the development of food allergies? Many women experience changes in their taste preferences and digestive patterns, but is it possible for these changes to go beyond temporary adjustments?
If you’re curious to explore the connection between pregnancy and food allergies, join me on this fascinating journey. We’ll unravel the truth behind potential triggers, understand the impact of hormonal fluctuations, and discover ways to navigate food choices while protecting your little one. Get ready to feast your mind on a flavorful blend of information and insights!
Pregnancy and Food Allergies: Unmasking the Truth
When it comes to the intriguing relationship between pregnancy and food allergies, it’s time to unmask the truth behind this puzzling phenomenon. Hormonal changes, immune system shifts, and dietary adjustments during pregnancy can all contribute to the potential development of food allergies.
During pregnancy, your body experiences a surge of hormones, including estrogen and progesterone. These hormonal fluctuations can impact your immune system, potentially altering how your body responds to certain foods. The immune system plays a crucial role in recognizing and defending against potential allergens, so any changes can have significant consequences.
Moreover, the foods you consume during pregnancy can directly affect your baby’s exposure to various flavors and allergenic substances. Studies suggest that maternal diet may influence the development of allergies in offspring. This emphasizes the importance of making informed dietary choices during pregnancy to minimize the risk of allergic reactions in your child.
It’s worth noting that not all dietary changes during pregnancy lead to food allergies. The development of allergies is a complex interplay between genetic factors, environmental influences, and individual susceptibility. However, being aware of the potential risks and taking necessary precautions can help you navigate this delicate balance.
The Impact of Hormonal Changes
During pregnancy, your body experiences a roller coaster of hormonal changes, and these fluctuations can have a profound impact on various aspects of your health, including the potential development of food allergies.
Estrogen and progesterone, the superstar hormones of pregnancy, play a vital role in regulating immune responses. However, their levels can influence the immune system’s tolerance and reactivity, potentially leading to an increased risk of developing allergies.
As your body adapts to support the growth of your little one, these hormonal shifts can affect how your body recognizes and responds to potential allergens. This altered immune response can make you more susceptible to developing allergies or experiencing heightened reactions to certain foods.
It’s important to note that hormonal changes alone may not directly cause food allergies. The interplay between hormones, genetics, and other environmental factors contributes to the complex development of allergies. Understanding the role of hormonal changes is just one piece of the puzzle in unraveling the truth behind pregnancy-related food allergies.
Maternal Diet and Allergy Development
What you eat during pregnancy can have a significant impact on your baby’s health and potential risk of developing allergies. Your maternal diet plays a crucial role in shaping their immune system and overall well-being.
- Introducing a Variety of Foods: Exposing your baby to a diverse range of foods during pregnancy can help promote tolerance and reduce the risk of allergies.
- Avoiding Common Allergens: If you have a family history of allergies, it may be wise to avoid known allergens such as peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, and eggs during pregnancy.
- Optimizing Nutrient Intake: Consuming a balanced diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants can support your baby’s immune system and overall health.
While diet alone cannot guarantee the prevention of allergies, making informed food choices during pregnancy can create a positive foundation for your baby’s health. Consult with your healthcare provider for personalized advice and recommendations to ensure a healthy and well-nourished pregnancy.
Pregnancy and the Baby’s Immune System
During pregnancy, the developing baby’s immune system undergoes a fascinating journey that can have implications for their susceptibility to allergies. Understanding this intricate process is key to unraveling the mysteries behind pregnancy-related allergic reactions.
The baby’s immune system begins to develop early in pregnancy, and it is influenced by various factors, including the mother’s immune system and the environment. Maternal antibodies pass through the placenta, providing the baby with initial protection.
However, the baby’s immune system is not fully mature until after birth, leaving them vulnerable to potential allergens. The immune system needs to strike a delicate balance between recognizing harmful substances and tolerating harmless ones, such as certain foods.
Research suggests that exposures during pregnancy, including allergenic substances and certain dietary choices, can shape the development and programming of the baby’s immune system. These early interactions can influence the risk of allergic responses later in life.
Exploring the Link: Allergies and the Baby Bump
It’s no secret that pregnancy is a time of incredible transformation, both for the expectant mother and her growing baby. This period also provides a unique window to explore the fascinating link between allergies and the baby bump.
Research suggests that the prenatal environment can influence the baby’s immune system development and potentially impact their risk of developing allergies later in life. Factors such as the mother’s diet, exposure to allergens, and genetic predisposition all play a role in shaping this intricate connection.
Interestingly, studies have shown that babies born to mothers with allergies may have an increased likelihood of developing allergies themselves. While this correlation exists, it’s important to remember that it’s not a guaranteed outcome. Other factors, such as environmental exposures after birth, also contribute to the development of allergies.
Inheritance and Genetic Factors
When it comes to allergies, genetic factors and inheritance can play a significant role in determining an individual’s predisposition to allergic reactions. Understanding the impact of inheritance and genetic factors is essential in unraveling the complexities of allergies during pregnancy.
If one or both parents have allergies, there is an increased likelihood that their child may also develop allergies. However, it’s important to note that specific allergic reactions may vary between individuals. This variation highlights the influence of other factors, such as environmental exposures and individual immune responses.
Genetic predisposition can influence the body’s immune response and the production of certain antibodies. These factors can make individuals more susceptible to allergic reactions when exposed to allergens.
It’s important to remember that genetic factors are just one piece of the puzzle. Allergies are a multifaceted condition influenced by a combination of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors. Further research is necessary to fully understand the intricate interplay between genetics and allergies.
Environmental Influences During Pregnancy
While genetic factors play a significant role in allergies, the environmental influences during pregnancy should not be overlooked. The world around you can impact the development of allergies in your baby.
Exposure to various environmental factors, such as air pollution, tobacco smoke, and certain chemicals, may increase the risk of allergies in both the mother and the baby. These exposures can affect the immune system and potentially trigger allergic responses.
Additionally, studies have suggested that maternal stress during pregnancy can influence the baby’s immune system and increase the likelihood of developing allergies. Stress reduction techniques and a supportive environment may help mitigate these effects.
It’s important to create a healthy and allergen-conscious environment during pregnancy. Avoiding known allergens, maintaining good indoor air quality, and practicing stress management techniques can contribute to a healthier pregnancy and potentially reduce the risk of allergies in your child.
The Role of Stress in Allergy Development
Stress is a common part of life, but did you know it can also impact the development of allergies? The role of stress during pregnancy has been linked to an increased risk of allergy development in children.
- Hormonal Impact: Stress can affect hormone levels in the body, potentially altering immune responses and increasing the risk of allergies.
- Immune System Dysregulation: Chronic stress may disrupt the balance of the immune system, leading to heightened inflammatory responses and a higher susceptibility to allergies.
- Prenatal Programming: Studies suggest that stress experienced by expectant mothers during pregnancy can impact the fetal immune system’s development, potentially influencing allergy outcomes.
While stress alone may not directly cause allergies, managing stress levels during pregnancy is essential for overall well-being. Practicing relaxation techniques, seeking support, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help reduce the impact of stress on both you and your baby.
The Allergen Connection: Understanding Potential Triggers
When it comes to allergies, it’s crucial to identify the potential triggers that can elicit allergic reactions. Understanding the allergen connection is key to managing allergies effectively.
Common Allergens: Allergens can vary widely and include substances such as pollen, dust mites, pet dander, certain foods, and even medications. Identifying specific allergens can help avoid exposure and minimize allergic reactions.
Cross-Reactivity: Some individuals may experience cross-reactivity between different allergens. For example, if you’re allergic to birch pollen, you may also have allergic reactions to certain fruits or vegetables due to similar proteins.
Hidden Allergens: Allergens can be present in unexpected places, such as personal care products, cleaning agents, or cosmetics. Reading labels and being mindful of potential hidden allergens can help prevent unwanted reactions.
Individual Sensitivities: Allergies can vary from person to person. While certain substances may trigger allergies in some individuals, others may have no reactions at all. It’s important to understand your own unique sensitivities and manage them accordingly.
Common Food Allergens to Watch Out For
When it comes to food allergies, being aware of the common food allergens is essential to protect yourself and your baby. Here are three key allergens to keep an eye on:
- Peanuts: Peanuts are one of the most common food allergens and can cause severe allergic reactions. Avoid peanuts and peanut-containing products to reduce the risk of allergic responses.
- Shellfish: Shellfish allergies are prevalent and can be triggered by crustaceans such as shrimp, crab, and lobster, as well as mollusks like clams and mussels. Exercise caution when consuming shellfish.
- Dairy: Dairy products, including milk, cheese, and yogurt, can be problematic for individuals with dairy allergies. Opt for dairy-free alternatives to ensure a safe diet.
It’s important to note that food allergies can vary from person to person, and these are just a few examples of common allergens. Pay attention to any signs of allergic reactions, such as hives, difficulty breathing, or digestive issues, and consult a healthcare professional if needed.
Exposure to Allergens in the Womb
Did you know that exposure to allergens in the womb can influence the development of allergies in your child? Here are three key points to consider:
- Maternal Diet: The foods you consume during pregnancy can potentially expose your baby to allergens. Be mindful of your diet and consider avoiding common allergenic foods if you have a family history of allergies.
- Environmental Factors: The air quality and pollutants you encounter can also play a role in allergen exposure for your baby. Reducing exposure to environmental allergens, such as dust and pet dander, can be beneficial.
- Stress: Maternal stress levels can impact the immune system and potentially affect the development of allergies in the baby. Taking steps to manage stress and practice relaxation techniques can be beneficial for both you and your child.
While it’s not possible to completely eliminate allergen exposure, being aware of these factors and taking appropriate precautions can help reduce the risk of allergies in your little one. Consult with your healthcare provider for personalized advice and guidance during your pregnancy.
During pregnancy, it’s important to make mindful choices about your food to ensure the health and well-being of both you and your baby. Here are four key points to consider:
Balanced Nutrition: Focus on a varied and balanced diet that includes a mix of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. This provides essential nutrients for your baby’s development.
Hydration: Stay hydrated by drinking an adequate amount of water throughout the day. Water helps maintain healthy bodily functions and supports the transportation of nutrients to your baby.
Food Safety: Practice proper food safety measures to avoid foodborne illnesses. Avoid raw or undercooked meats, unpasteurized dairy products, and seafood high in mercury.
Cravings and Moderation: While it’s normal to have cravings during pregnancy, try to balance indulgences with healthy choices. Give in to your cravings in moderation and opt for nutritious alternatives whenever possible.
Remember to consult with your healthcare provider for personalized dietary recommendations that suit your specific needs and circumstances. Taking care of your diet is a wonderful way to nourish both yourself and your growing baby.
Safe and Nutritious Alternatives
When it comes to making food choices during pregnancy, there are plenty of safe and nutritious alternatives that you can enjoy. Consider the following options:
- Plant-Based Proteins: Incorporate plant-based protein sources such as beans, lentils, tofu, and quinoa into your meals. They provide essential nutrients and are a great alternative to meat.
- Healthy Fats: Opt for foods rich in healthy fats like avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil. These fats support your baby’s brain development and overall growth.
- Nutrient-Rich Snacks: Choose nutrient-dense snacks like fresh fruits, yogurt, nuts, and whole grain crackers. They provide energy and important vitamins and minerals.
These alternatives not only offer a wide range of nutrients but also ensure the safety of your food choices during pregnancy. Remember to listen to your body’s needs and make decisions that promote your well-being and that of your baby.
Consulting with a Healthcare Professional
It’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional when making decisions about your diet during pregnancy. They can provide personalized guidance and address any specific concerns you may have. Here are some reasons why consulting with a healthcare professional is important:
- Individualized Advice: A healthcare professional can assess your unique needs and recommend dietary modifications or restrictions based on your medical history and specific circumstances.
- Safety and Allergen Management: They can help you identify potential allergens, provide guidance on food safety practices, and suggest alternatives to minimize the risk of allergic reactions.
- Nutritional Balance: Healthcare professionals can ensure that your diet is well-balanced, meeting your nutritional needs and supporting the healthy development of your baby.
By collaborating with a healthcare professional, you can have peace of mind knowing that you’re making informed decisions and taking the necessary steps to promote a healthy pregnancy.
Tips for Managing Cravings and Aversions
Cravings and aversions are common during pregnancy and can sometimes pose challenges when it comes to managing your diet. Here are some helpful tips to navigate through these cravings and aversions:
- Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to your body’s signals and cravings. However, try to strike a balance by incorporating healthier options whenever possible.
- Experiment with Alternatives: If you have aversions to certain foods, explore substitutes that provide similar nutritional benefits. Get creative with your meal planning and try new recipes.
- Small, Frequent Meals: Opt for smaller, more frequent meals to help manage cravings and prevent overeating. This can help stabilize blood sugar levels and keep you satisfied throughout the day.
Remember, it’s important to maintain a balanced and nutritious diet during pregnancy. If you have concerns about your cravings or aversions, consult with a healthcare professional who can provide guidance and support.
Food Allergies vs. Food Intolerances: Spot the Difference!
Food allergies and food intolerances are often confused, but they are distinct conditions with different underlying mechanisms. Here’s what you need to know:
Immune Response: Food allergies involve an immune system response, where the body mistakenly identifies a specific food as harmful. This triggers an allergic reaction that can range from mild to severe.
Digestive System: Food intolerances, on the other hand, are primarily associated with the digestive system. They occur when the body has difficulty digesting certain components of food, such as lactose or gluten.
Symptoms: Food allergies can cause a wide range of symptoms, including hives, difficulty breathing, and even anaphylaxis. Food intolerances typically lead to digestive symptoms such as bloating, diarrhea, or abdominal pain.
Understanding the difference between food allergies and food intolerances is essential for proper diagnosis and management. If you suspect you have either condition, consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate assessment and appropriate guidance.
Immunological Response vs. Digestive Issues
When it comes to food allergies and food intolerances, the underlying mechanisms can be categorized into immunological response and digestive issues:
Immunological Response: Food allergies involve the immune system reacting to specific food proteins as if they were harmful substances. This triggers the release of immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies, leading to allergic symptoms.
Digestive Issues: Food intolerances, on the other hand, stem from difficulties in digesting certain components of food. For example, lactose intolerance occurs when the body lacks the enzyme lactase to break down lactose, causing digestive discomfort.
Symptoms and Effects: Food allergies often result in immediate and potentially life-threatening symptoms, such as swelling, hives, or anaphylaxis. Food intolerances commonly lead to delayed digestive symptoms like bloating, gas, or diarrhea.
Understanding the distinction between the immunological response in food allergies and the digestive issues in food intolerances is crucial for accurate diagnosis and appropriate management. If you suspect you have either condition, consult with a healthcare professional for evaluation and personalized advice.
Diagnosing Allergies and Intolerances
Accurate diagnosis of food allergies and intolerances is essential for proper management. Here are three approaches to diagnosing these conditions:
Medical History: A detailed medical history, including symptoms, dietary patterns, and family history, can provide valuable insights into potential allergies or intolerances.
Allergy Testing: Allergy testing involves various methods, such as skin prick tests or blood tests, to identify specific allergens triggering an immune response in allergic individuals.
Elimination Diet: An elimination diet involves systematically removing suspected food triggers from the diet and reintroducing them one by one to identify any adverse reactions or intolerances.
Consulting with a healthcare professional, such as an allergist or a registered dietitian, is crucial for accurate diagnosis and guidance in managing food allergies and intolerances. They can help create a personalized plan based on your unique situation and dietary needs.
Managing Symptoms and Seeking Medical Help
When dealing with food allergies and intolerances, it’s important to take steps to manage symptoms effectively. Here are four strategies to consider:
Avoidance: The most effective way to prevent symptoms is to avoid consuming foods that trigger allergies or intolerances. Read food labels, ask about ingredients when dining out, and be vigilant about cross-contamination.
Medications: Medications such as antihistamines can help relieve mild allergy symptoms, while digestive aids may offer relief for food intolerances. However, consult a healthcare professional before starting any medication.
Emergency Plan: Individuals with severe allergies should have an emergency action plan, including carrying epinephrine (EpiPen) and knowing how to use it in case of an anaphylactic reaction.
Seek Medical Help: If you suspect a food allergy or intolerance, consult a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis, guidance, and ongoing management. They can provide personalized advice and help develop a comprehensive treatment plan.
Remember, managing food allergies and intolerances requires a proactive approach, proper education, and close collaboration with medical professionals. By taking control of your health, you can navigate these conditions with confidence and improve your overall well-being.
Shielding Your Little One: Preventing Allergies in Infancy
Allergies can be a concern for parents, but there are steps you can take to help prevent allergies in infancy. Here are three important considerations:
Introduce Allergenic Foods: Contrary to previous beliefs, early introduction of allergenic foods like peanuts and eggs, under the guidance of a healthcare professional, can help reduce the risk of allergies. Gradually introduce these foods to your baby’s diet, one at a time.
Breastfeeding: Breastfeeding for at least the first four to six months of life can help protect against allergies. Breast milk contains essential nutrients and immune factors that support the baby’s developing immune system.
Allergen Avoidance: If you or your partner have allergies, consider minimizing exposure to potential allergens during pregnancy and in the early months of your baby’s life. This may include reducing exposure to certain foods, pets, and environmental triggers.
By following these recommendations, you can play an active role in protecting your little one from developing allergies. However, every child is different, and it’s essential to consult with a pediatrician or allergist for personalized advice and guidance based on your family’s medical history and individual circumstances.
Introducing Solid Foods with Caution
When it’s time to introduce solid foods to your baby, it’s important to proceed with caution and follow these guidelines:
Start Slowly: Begin with single-ingredient foods, such as mashed fruits or vegetables, one at a time. This allows you to monitor any potential allergic reactions or digestive issues.
Watch for Allergic Reactions: Pay close attention to your baby’s reaction to new foods. Look for signs of skin rashes, hives, swelling, difficulty breathing, or gastrointestinal symptoms like vomiting or diarrhea. If any of these symptoms occur, stop feeding that food and consult a healthcare professional.
Gradual Introductions: Introduce one new food every few days, spacing out the introduction of new ingredients. This helps identify specific foods that may trigger an allergic reaction and allows your baby’s digestive system to adapt.
Seek Professional Advice: Consult your pediatrician or a registered dietitian for guidance on introducing solids, especially if your baby is at a higher risk for allergies or has a family history of allergies.
By introducing solid foods with care and close monitoring, you can help ensure a positive and healthy food experience for your baby. Remember, every baby is unique, and if you have any concerns or questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to a healthcare professional.
From Pickles to Peanuts: Debunking Common Myths
There are many myths surrounding allergies and intolerances in relation to certain foods. Let’s debunk some of the most common misconceptions:
Allergies Can Be Outgrown: While some children may outgrow certain allergies, it is not true for all allergies. Individual biology plays a significant role in determining whether an allergy persists or resolves over time.
Small Amounts Are Safe: For individuals with food allergies, even trace amounts of an allergen can trigger a severe reaction. Strict avoidance is the best approach to prevent allergic reactions.
Intolerances Are the Same as Allergies: Food intolerances, such as lactose intolerance, are different from allergies. Allergies involve an immune response, while intolerances result from the body’s inability to digest certain foods properly.
Avoid Allergenic Foods During Pregnancy: It was previously believed that avoiding allergenic foods during pregnancy would prevent allergies in the baby. However, there is no strong evidence to support this claim. In fact, early introduction of potential allergens may actually reduce the risk of developing allergies.
By understanding the facts and dispelling these myths, we can make informed decisions and promote a better understanding of allergies and intolerances. Consult with healthcare professionals for accurate information and guidance related to your specific situation.
Pregnancy Cravings and Allergy Development
Pregnancy cravings are a common phenomenon, but can they influence the development of allergies in your baby? Let’s explore:
Nutritional Balance: It’s important to maintain a balanced diet during pregnancy to support both your health and your baby’s development. Cravings for certain foods may indicate a need for specific nutrients.
Food Diversity: Introducing a variety of foods during pregnancy can expose your baby to different flavors and nutrients, potentially reducing the risk of developing allergies. Dietary diversity plays a role in shaping your baby’s palate and immune system.
Allergy Triggers: While it’s normal to have cravings, it’s essential to be mindful of potential allergens. If you have known allergies or a family history of allergies, consult with your healthcare provider to understand which foods to avoid during pregnancy.
Remember, cravings are natural, but maintaining a balanced diet is crucial. Focus on a diverse and nutritious eating plan while being mindful of potential allergens. Discuss any concerns or questions with your healthcare provider for personalized guidance throughout your pregnancy journey.
Food Avoidance During Pregnancy
During pregnancy, certain foods may pose risks to both you and your baby. Here are some important considerations:
High-Risk Foods: Avoid raw shellfish, unpasteurized dairy products, raw or undercooked meats, and unwashed fruits and vegetables. These can carry bacteria or parasites that may harm your baby.
Allergenic Foods: If you have a family history of food allergies, consider avoiding common allergenic foods such as peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, wheat, soy, and fish during pregnancy to minimize the risk of allergic reactions in your baby.
Consult with Your Healthcare Provider: It’s important to discuss any dietary concerns with your healthcare provider. They can provide personalized advice based on your medical history, allergies, and dietary needs.
Remember, practicing food safety and avoiding high-risk and allergenic foods can help protect both you and your baby during pregnancy. Regularly consult with your healthcare provider to ensure a healthy and well-balanced diet throughout this special time.
Outgrowing Allergies: Fact or Fiction?
Many people wonder if it’s possible to outgrow allergies. Here are some important points to consider:
Allergen-Specific: Whether someone outgrows an allergy depends on the specific allergen and the individual’s immune system. Some allergies, such as milk or egg allergies, are more likely to be outgrown, while others, like peanut or tree nut allergies, tend to persist.
Time and Exposure: In some cases, repeated exposure to small amounts of the allergen under medical supervision can help the immune system tolerate it better, leading to a potential outgrowing of the allergy over time.
Individual Variability: Every person is unique, and allergies can vary in their duration and severity from person to person. While some individuals may outgrow an allergy, others may continue to be allergic throughout their lives.
Medical Evaluation: If you suspect that you or your child may have outgrown an allergy, it’s important to consult with a qualified allergist or immunologist who can conduct allergy testing and provide a professional evaluation.
Remember, each allergy case is different, and it’s crucial to seek medical guidance to determine the best course of action regarding allergies. Your healthcare provider can provide personalized advice based on your specific situation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Develop Food Allergies When Pregnant?
Yes, it is possible for women to develop food allergies during pregnancy, although it is relatively rare. Pregnancy can cause changes in the immune system, making women more susceptible to developing allergies. Hormonal fluctuations and increased sensitivity to certain substances may trigger allergic reactions to foods that were previously well-tolerated.
What Are the Risk Factors for Developing Food Allergies During Pregnancy?
Several factors increase the risk of developing food allergies during pregnancy. These include a personal or family history of allergies, asthma, eczema, or other allergic conditions. Women who have had previous allergic reactions to specific foods or who experienced allergies during previous pregnancies are also at a higher risk.
How Can Food Allergies During Pregnancy Impact the Baby?
Food allergies during pregnancy can potentially affect the baby. If a pregnant woman consumes allergenic foods to which she is allergic, it can lead to allergic reactions, such as hives or anaphylaxis. In severe cases, these reactions can pose risks to both the mother and the baby. It is essential to seek medical advice to manage and avoid allergenic foods during pregnancy.
Are There Any Specific Foods That Are More Likely to Cause Allergies During Pregnancy?
While any food can potentially trigger an allergic reaction, common allergenic foods include peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, fish, eggs, milk, soy, and wheat. These foods are known to be more likely to cause allergies in both children and adults. However, each person’s response to specific foods can vary, and it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional for personalized guidance.
What Precautions Can Pregnant Women Take to Reduce the Risk of Developing Food Allergies?
Pregnant women can take several precautions to reduce the risk of developing food allergies. It is recommended to maintain a balanced and varied diet, avoiding excessive consumption of any particular food. Consulting with a healthcare professional or allergist can provide valuable guidance on identifying potential allergens, reading food labels, and safely managing any existing allergies or sensitivities.