The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 4.6% of children under18 years old have at least one food allergy. That’s a 1.1% rise from the previous decade.
Specific allergies aren’t inherited, but the likelihood of allergies may be. For example, if mom is allergic to hay fever, several foods and some animals, there’s a good chance her baby will be allergic to something, but we can’t say what for sure.
Here are some common questions people ask about allergies in babies and their answers.
1. What happens if baby has a reaction?
If your baby’s body reacts to a food, he treats that substance like an invader and the immune system attacks. Sometimes that means creating an antibody to detect the food next time. Usually you’ll see some or all of these symptoms:
- Hives – little red dots, sometimes raised, on the skin.
- Swelling or trouble breathing – if the allergic reaction is severe, this can be deadly.
- Eczema – dry, scaly patches of skin on face, arms or legs.
- Vomiting or diarrhea – your body’s attempt to pass the foreign substance out.
It’s possible to see a delayed reaction to a certain food. This usually occurs when baby has inherited the allergy, but the gene hasn’t expressed yet.
For example, your child may eat peaches several times before a reaction occurs, but once symptoms show, they usually stay around for a while.
2. What are the common allergens?
We can be allergic to anything, but there are some patterns to be aware of. The list below is responsible for 90% of all food allergies.
- Tree nuts
3. How do I respond to an allergic reaction?
Most allergic reactions aren’t serious. You’ll notice the symptoms and they’ll fade a few minutes later.
Some reactions, however, can be quite serious. If your baby is experiencing a severe reaction, like trouble breathing, swelling of the face or lips, or starts severe diarrhea or vomiting, you should call 911 right away. An airway can close up in just a couple minutes and vomiting/diarrhea can cause dehydration fast.
4. Should I take my baby to an allergist?
Yes. An allergist will be able to tell you for sure what your baby is allergic to and whether the symptoms are part of an immune system reaction or a simple food intolerance. The doctor will perform a skin or blood test and help you create a plan for treating the symptoms if your baby accidentally comes in contact with the allergen.
The doctor might give you an epinephrine auto-injector to stop the reaction or inhaler.
5. How can I prevent a reaction?
The key to preventing an allergic reaction is to strictly avoid the allergen. This can tricky, however, as foods show up in unlikely places. You’ll have to read lots of labels.
Educate everyone who cares for the baby (family, friends, daycare, etc.) about the allergy. Notify them on what your baby shouldn’t eat, including foods that might hide that substance (for example, there are eggs in most cookies).
Make sure everyone knows how to respond to a reaction: what steps to take and who to call.
6. What about babies who are still nursing or drinking formula?
Allergens can be passed through your breastmilk, so if your baby has a reaction, you’ll have to figure out what you ate that’s caused it. Then, keep that food out of your diet.
It’s possible for babies to be allergic to their type of formula. Most formula brands are cow’s milk, so you might switch to a lactose-free formula, soy formula, hydrolyzed formula, or other.
7. Can allergies be prevented?
This a tough question to answer. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests delaying when you expose your child to the most common allergens, but there’s also a lot of research that suggests this doesn’t help.
However, experts agree that breastfeeding offers some protection, so nurse as long as you can.
When you introduce new foods, do it gradually with plenty of time in between so you can gauge which food caused a reaction if one occurs.
Written by Christine Barlow, Inventor of 5 Phases Eco-Friendly Baby Bottle System
Mom Christine Barlow is the inventor of 5 Phases eco-friendly and non-toxic baby bottles, the safest and healthiest way to bottle feed your baby. Her inspiration in creating an alternative to traditional feeding bottles came after the birth of her 1lb 7oz micro-preemie baby. Having a compromised child, she became aware how environmental factors were affecting our children. With all the concerns of plastics and infants being the most vulnerable, she felt there was a need for more options for parents who wanted to use glass. She knew she had to act – and the 5 Phases Hybrid Glass Baby Bottles were born.
5 Phases is dedicated to helping families achieve a healthier and organic lifestyle. Starting with baby, they develop products keeping both the environment and health of your family in mind. And when it comes to your baby nothing else will do – Christine knows, she’s a mom too!
For more information on 5 Phases, visit www.5phases.com!
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