Infant Allergies

Infant Allergies Signs: Causes of Common Allergies and Symptoms Of Childhood Food Allergies. 

Parents of allergic children are always concerned about their babies and infants. It's estimated that about 4% of infants have some kind of food or environmental allergy. Infants and babies have a weaker immune system than adults so we as parents need to be sensitive to that fact.

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The best thing to do for kids with food allergies is to help them avoid those foods that have allergens and cause a reaction. For baby and child health related issues, we need to look at the causes. 

What Is A Food Allergy Or Intolerance

Common baby food allergy symptoms is when your infant eats or is exposed to something that has an allergen, the body goes into hyper-drive. It views the allergen as a threat and acts accordingly. Symptoms develop because of the allergic reaction. These symptoms of a food allergy or from the environment can include: 

  • Breathing trouble 
  • Coughing
  • Diarrhea
  • Hard time getting to or staying asleep
  • Hives 
  • Irritability
  • Itchy red bumps 
  • Itchy skin
  • Nausea 
  • Rash around the mouth
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Skin reactions
  • Stomach pain or cramps 
  • Swelling of the arms and/or legs 
  • Vomiting
  • Wheezing
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In severe cases the victim can get anaphylaxis shock which is very dangerous. It's a life-threatening emergency that requires immediate medical attention. Many times parents who have children that are susceptible to anaphylaxis shock will carry epinephrine, sometimes called an EpiPen. This gives the child a shot of adrenaline and offers enough time to get him to the emergency room. Anaphylaxis symptoms can include:

  • Difficulty in breathing. The victim may have a swollen throat or airway making it difficult to breathe.
  • Facial flush
  • Lightheadedness 
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Severe drop in blood pressure
  • Stomach pain

Infant Allergies & The Big 8

Studies have indicated that around 90% of all infant allergies can be attributed to the Big 8 food items. Most of these would not be given to an infant but these might be ingredients in other foods. They are: 

  • Eggs and food containing eggs - Up there with milk and dairy. Can produce a wide range of symptoms. Eggs can be a simple mild allergy with hives and rashes while the most severe cases may go into anaphylactic shock. Can also trigger a food allergy rash.
  • Fish - More common in adults than kid's allergies. Halibut, salmon and tuna are the biggest offenders.
  • Milk and dairy - Can cause lactose and milk allergy in infants. Also a trigger dairy allergy symptoms and dairy sensitivity.   
  • Nuts - Similar to a peanut allergy. Tree nut allergies symptoms can be mild or more severe. 
  • Peanuts - Common in many foods and one of the leaders of food allergies. This is an interesting side note. My daughter can have peanut butter but not peanuts in the shell. I believe this is due to the possible mold that might grow inside the shell. We learned she was allergic to mold before the peanut incident.  
  • Shellfish - This can cause of wide range of symptoms including shortness of breath, dizziness, and anaphylaxis. 
  • Soy - Love my soy sauce with my Chinese food but for some people soy can trigger a bad allergic reaction.
  • Wheat - Bloating and feeling tired. This was my biggest concern when I learned about my wheat intolerance.
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Food Allergy Prevention 

If your family has a history of allergies the chances of passing those onto your infant are increased. The American Academy of Pediatrics offers these guidelines for babies at high risk of food allergies:

  • Avoid cow milk until 1 year old
  • Breast milk is always the best
  • Drinking only breast milk for the first 4 - 5 months may reduce the risk of cow milk allergy. Look for formulas that don't contain cow's milk. 
  • It seems that avoiding certain foods in pregnancy appears to not prevent food allergies
  • Medical research about food allergies is continuing to grow and we're getting more useful data all the time
  • Recommended introducing solid foods between 4 - 6 months old
  • Soy-based infant formula does not appear to prevent food allergy

If you see infant allergies symptoms from food or the environment, it's best to talk to your pediatrician or allergist. These kinds of allergic reactions can be uncomfortable and in some cases your baby may end up in the hospital. It's best to get professional help. The doctor or allergist can perform a series of tests to determine the root cause of the allergy and treat it accordingly.

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