How to determine if an infant has food allergy

Food allergy is quite common among children who came from families where other members have allergies. Infants who suffer from eczema face a high risk for developing food allergy. The more severe the eczema and the earlier in life that it started, the more likely to develop food allergy. An infant with severe eczema before 3 months of age is likely to suffer from food allergies.

There are some types of food allergies that are quite easy to recognize – the moment the food is consumed, a tickly rash develops around the mouth. There is also swelling of the face, itchiness as well as runny nose and even vomiting. In severe reactions, there might be difficulty breathing and if this occurs, call for emergency assistance right away. Luckily, severe reactions are rare in young children and tend to be more of an issue among teenagers.

What are the symptoms of an immediate food allergy?

Food allergy

In severe reactions, there might be difficulty breathing.

The mild to moderate symptoms usually affect the skin, digestive and respiratory system.

  • Minimal swelling especially the lips, face and eyes.
  • Flushed face and hives that can spread all over the body.
  • Nausea and vomiting, abdominal cramping and diarrhea.
  • Runny or clogged nose, watery eyes and sneezing.
  • Itchy or scratchy mouth and throat.

The severe symptoms (anaphylaxis) require immediate medical attention. The symptoms include the following:

  • Swelling of the tongue and throat which constricts the airways.
  • Wheezing or tightness of the chest
  • Abrupt drop in the blood pressure that leads to shock
  • Confusion, dizziness, collapse, loss of consciousness and even coma.

Delayed food allergy

Oftentimes, a food allergy is subtle and difficult to detect, particularly if it is a delayed allergy. These allergies tend to be an issue in infancy. The delayed allergies do not involve the immune system and includes parts of the immune system that take a longer time to respond.

This type of allergy among infants can cause chronic symptoms such as reflux, eczema, colic, diarrhea, poor growth or even constipation. The symptoms only improve once the food is eliminated from the diet. Nevertheless, all of these symptoms typically occur during childhood and an allergy is the only possible explanation.

Symptoms of delayed food allergy

  • Eczema
  • Poor growth
  • Reflux
  • Constipation and/or diarrhea
  • Swelling in the small bowels
  • Frequent distress and crying
  • Raising the knees to chest with abdominal pain

What to do is an allergy is suspected?

The immediate allergies to food are easy to spot since they quickly manifest after a particular food is eaten. If you suspect that a child is experiencing an immediate reaction, it is best to avoid the food until a doctor is consulted.

If you suspect that something in the diet of the child causes delayed symptoms such as reflux or eczema, it is advised to keep a food diary to pinpoint if there is a relationship between having the food in the diet and the symptoms.


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