Symptoms of food allergies in babies
As the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) points out, between 6% and 8% of children under 3 years old suffer from food allergies. This health problem is increasing, especially in the youngest children, and in Europe is the main cause of anaphylaxis between 0 and 14 years old. Symptoms of food allergies in babies are very diverse but you have to take them into account and go to the pediatrician if you observe them to perform the necessary tests.
Food allergies are immunological reactions caused by ingestion or contact with a food that have some substance that the body recognizes as strange.
As the Spanish Association of Pediatrics indicates, the most frequent food allergies in children are produced by eggs, milk, nuts, fruits and fish. Many of breastfed babies who develop milk's allergy do so in their first year of life and most of them get over it in the early years.
If the mother is allergic, there will be a 50% of probabilities that the baby will be allergic too. And if the couple also suffers from allergies, the odds increase to 75%. Children who suffer from food allergies may have other coexisting diseases, such as allergic rhinitis, asthma or eczema.
What are the symptoms of food allergies in babies?
The symptoms of food allergies in babies can be very varied and may affect different areas of the body. The same allergen does not always produce the same symptomatology and its intensity also can change. In addition, the amount of food that causes a reaction also can vary in each child, from traces to high quantities.
As the Allergy Service of the Polytechnic University Hospital La Fe indicates, the symptoms that may appear from food allergies are:
- Digestive symptoms
- Oral Allergy Syndrome: burning or inflammation of mouth, tongue and throat.
- Gastric juices, abdominal pain, colics, diarrhea and nausea.
- Skin symptoms
- Urticaria, erythema and blisters in the skin's area that is in contact with the food, either direct or indirect (by contact with people who have consumed it). It can affect the eyelids, hands or the whole body.
- Atopic dermatitis: is a very common inflammatory skin disease in young children.
- Respiratory symptoms
- Bronchial asthma.
- Rhinitis (sneezing, itchy nose and eye, with tears and nasal congestion).
- Bronchospasm crisis.
- It is the most serious reaction and it causes a generalized inflammation that affects multiple locations and organs. If it happens, it requires immediate medical attention. Usually it produces cutaneous or general symptoms, as well as digestive symptoms.
You can also distinguish three types of symptoms taking into account the time they take to appear:
- Immediate: they occur within a few minutes after eating the food (less than 30 minutes), so the cause-effect relationship is usually evident. The most common symptoms are urticaria, gastric juices, asthma and anaphylaxis.
- Deferred: they usually appear at least two hours after eat the food and sometimes after 24-48h. The most frequent symptoms are the digestive ones, like diarrhea.
- Late: they appear days after eating the food. The most common symptom in this case is atopic dermatitis.
When you introduce new foods into the baby's menu you maybe observe some of these symptoms. It is very important to observe the child after eating some new food, especially the foods that cause allergy more often, named above. If you notice some of the symptoms mentioned, it is important to go to the pediatrician to do the relevant study and to confirm if there is an allergy or not.