Food allergies are a common problem amongst babies and small children, so it's common for parents who are transitioning their babies to solid foods to have questions about food allergies. Knowing how to tell if your baby has a food allergy, which babies are most at risk for food allergies, and how to identify which foods are the source of the problem can help you keep your baby safe.
What are the symptoms of food allergies in babies?
The symptoms of food allergies in babies are similar to symptoms of food allergies in adults. The most common symptoms include:
- Swelling or appearance of hives
- Rash or red spots
- Flushed skin
- Difficulty breathing
- Diarrhea or vomiting
- Coughing and wheezing
- Stomach pain
- Loss of weight, insufficient growth or insufficient weight gain
Symptoms may appear only minutes after the food is eaten, or within a couple hours.
Which foods are the most likely to cause an allergic reaction?
The foods that are most likely to cause an allergic reaction include shellfish, peanuts, wheat, milk, eggs, soy, and nuts from trees.
Are some babies at high risk for food allergies?
Yes, some babies are at higher risk for food allergies than other babies. Food allergies tend to be genetic. Many children who have siblings or parents with food allergies will also have food allergies themselves.
How can you tell which food is causing an allergy?
When transitioning your child to solid foods, it's important to introduce each food one at a time. This way if your child has a reaction, it will be easy to tell which food is causing the problem. If you introduce more than one food at a time and your child has an allergic reaction, there will be no way to tell which food is causing the allergy without trying each food again separately.
What should you do if your child has an allergic reaction to a food?
This depends on the type of reaction your child experiences. Swelling of the tongue, difficulty breathing and loss of consciousness are all signs of a severe and dangerous reaction. If your child has a dangerous reaction, seek emergency medical treatment right away.
If your child experiences a less severe reaction, talk to your family doctor. He or she can answer your questions, give advice and make recommendations for next steps. Working closely with your child's doctor will enable you to care for your child and help your child stay safe.