A food allergy refers to an excessive immune response that occurs when a particular person ingests foods that are harmless to the general public, such as peanuts, eggs, milk and seafood. It is known that food allergy is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors, and it is estimated that about 3.8~5.1% of the total population of Korea has food allergy.
Food allergy symptoms include urticaria, atopic dermatitis, angioedema, vomiting, diarrhoea, and abdominal pain throughout the body. In particular, when they are around 6 months old, they taste food other than formula for the first time, and parents worry that food allergy symptoms will appear. Eat This, Not That, a health information website in the United States, explains that “exposing your baby to food can reduce the risk of developing a food allergy by up to 80%” Here are some tips on how to introduce safely.
Food Allergies When Babies Start Weaning | Source: Getty Imagesbank
1. Don’t avoid it, try it early
Foods prone to allergic reactions include eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, tomatoes and peaches. Experts explain, “It is better to start feeding from 4 to 6 months of age, rather than delaying the intake of these foods because of vague concerns.” In the past, it was recommended to delay the first exposure to allergens as much as possible, but recently, a number of studies have published that it is more effective to contact them sooner rather than later. In a 2015 study by Professor Sooyoung Lee’s team at the Department of Pediatrics at Ajou University Hospital, it was also revealed that “even if at least one parent or sibling has a history of allergies, there is no need to avoid or limit intake. of allergens, even if the baby is a high-risk baby.” .
In particular, in the case of peanut allergy, early exposure is more effective in prevention. A large study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2015 compared peanut intake among babies aged 4 to 11 months and found that babies who started eating peanuts later were more likely to develop a peanut allergy than babies who started eating them earlier . be more than five times higher. Experts explain that “the longer you delay exposure to an allergic food, the more sensitive you will be to that food.”
However, apart from the risk of allergy, raw milk puts a burden on the baby’s kidneys and has a low iron content, so it is safe to feed it after the stone.
2. Pay close attention to allergens
If your baby ate an allergen for the first time, you should check carefully to see if there is any specific reaction. In particular, it is important to look for an ‘immediate allergy-like’ reaction which develops symptoms within a few minutes to several hours (usually 2 hours) of ingestion or contact. This reaction can be life-threatening even in very small amounts, and symptoms appear in various organs such as the skin, the digestive system, the respiratory system, and the circulatory system. In particular, systemic allergic reactions such as anaphylaxis, angioedema, lower blood pressure, and asthma attacks require immediate emergency treatment.
Even if it’s not an obvious reaction, you should check carefully for subtle signs. Some mild reactions, such as skin rash, swelling, or diarrhea, appear several hours after eating. If you notice these signs, you should stop eating the food and get a proper diagnosis from a hospital. It is not right to restrict the food by guesswork just because an allergic reaction is suspected. After a correct diagnosis, it is desirable to restrict only those foods that the specialist decides need to be restricted.
3. Cook a variety of foods in the right way
When preparing to give your baby a new food, you should pay more attention to the recipe for foods that can cause food allergies. Basically, babies are immature when swallowing, so it’s best to soak them in warm water or crush them so they don’t get stuck in their throats. Eggs, in particular, must be cooked. It can be eaten safely and easily by lightly mashing it and mixing it with milk or flour.
Dr. Scott H. Sicherer, Professor of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology, explains, “It’s a good idea to vary your diet so your baby can taste different allergens in different ways.” This is because by experiencing a variety of foods, you learn how to digest them in a healthier way.