This is quite a common sight in my GP Practice Nurse job, food reactions/allergies in babies.
This week we had a 7 month old baby present with a reaction to kiwi fruit.
A lot of people think that strawberries are very allergic fruit when in fact kiwi fruit presents itself more often.
The poor little bubba had a very red face and hives on her body, very similar to this picture.
This often presents itself within 10-30 minutes of eating an ‘allergic’ type of food.
The face and body often have hives, an itchy red rash and this can lead to swollen lips, coughing as the throat constricts and anaphylaxis. They may also have abdominal pain and loose stools or diarrhea. This baby above had a reaction to egg white and the swelling around the eyes started within 30 minutes. She had been OK previously with exposure to egg yolk.
This is the same baby with a skin reaction (hives) to watermelon.
Children born into atopic families are more likely to develop allergic diseases (50-80% risk) compared to those with no family history of atopy (20%). The risk appears to be higher if both parents are allergic (60-80%) as opposed to only one parent. The risk is also higher if the mother (as compared to the father) has allergic disease.
Atopic families includes those with a history of asthma, eczema and/or hay fever.
An allergic reaction can sometimes take up to 3 days to develop and that’s why we leave introducing more allergic foods till after 6 months, especially in families with a strong history of atopic disease. The baby’s gut is less ‘porous’ after 6 months than before 6 months of age. We think that before 6 months there is more likelihood of setting off an allergic reaction because of the ‘immature gut’.
If you suspect this may be the case it is important to seek medical advice quickly either via a GP or hospital emergency dept and in emergency circumstances ring 000.
The treatment in cases of anaphylaxis is an injection of adrenaline and most babies and children with a history of this will carry their own EpiPen.
The reason for the red face is a release of histamine.
If you think your baby may have a food allergy then a trip to the doctor may be needed.
As I’ve found recently these allergies are getting quite common and need careful management and investigation.
Some more helpful reading on kids and food allergy below