• Ask Our Expert: On Allergies, Color Blindness, and Midnight-Snacking

    Parents ask our pedia expert about their health concerns
  • Our expert, Dr. Miko Palo, M.D., F.A.A.P. is a general pediatrician and a mother to two little girls, Maya and Lian. She is an active consultant and holds clinic at St. Luke's Medical Center Global City.

    Passing on allergies
     

    child's hands holding peanuts

    Q: Can a child take after his parents' allergy history? I'm allergic to shellfish, so I haven't fed my two-year-old child any of those. How can I tell if he is allergic to shellfish, too? If we do try it and he gets a reaction, how do I make it subside? - MdelaCruz

    Children inherit many traits from their parents: curly hair, bad handwriting, height, and, unfortunately, allergies. A child who has a strong family history of asthma, allergic rhinitis, atopic dermatitis, and food allergies has a higher chance of developing allergies as well. However, it does not follow that your child will necessarily have seafood allergies if you do. What is passed on is the tendency to develop allergies, and not specific triggers.

    It is true: Shellfish, along with other foods like chicken and nuts, are one of the most common food allergens, so I would be ready with some antihistamine when you do have him take some. Please go ahead and have him try it -- it would be a shame. Shrimp is the bomb! (Oops, sorry I didn't mean to tease you).

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    Color blindness
    Q: Sometimes, my eight-year-old boy identifies colors wrong -- not way off, but still wrong (like he mistook a red bag for orange, and something blue for green). This has happened thrice in the last year. Could he be developing color blindness? Is this congenital? How do you treat it? His vision is 20/20 so I'm not sure what's happening. - Name withheld upon request

    Most people who are color-blind are born with this condition, but sometimes, color-blindness can also be acquired (from illnesses that cause eye damage or as a side-effect from medications).

    When a person is color-blind from birth, the condition does not usually get worse and does not affect the other aspects of vision. Unfortunately, there is no treatment for congenital color-blindness.

    On the other hand, acquired color-blindness often affects 20/20 vision and may worsen over time. Treatment is aimed at addressing the associated disease or removing the responsible medication or toxin. Bring your son to a pediatric ophthalmologist, so that he can be evaluated more thoroughly.

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    Snack attack!
    Q: My family and I have developed this habit of eating at midnight even after a day of full meals complete with snacks in between. Is it all right for us to be hitting the sack with our stomachs full? Will it make us overweight? - Hungrymama

    Unless you are nursing a broken heart, a midnight snack is a guilty treat and it would not be wise to make a habit out of it. Our stomachs and digestive systems are strong enought to take whatever we eat even in the middle of the night, but you are right about the extra weight that a constant late-night meal might bring. Since calories burned at night are at a minimum, the body will store all that extra energy as fat. Here's another argument against a late-night fridge raid: Kids who are up late eating are ... up late. They should really be asleep, because nighttime is sleep is when they do most of their growing.

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    Got a question about your child's health or wellness? Email it to lei.smartparenting@gmail.com with "Ask Our Expert" on the subject line.

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