Scientists have been trying to pinpoint the root cause of food allergies for years in an effort to better diagnose and treat them. Recently, researchers have been making serious strides when it comes to determining the potential causes of these common allergies and safe and effective ways to test for them. While food allergies are rare, affecting only five percent of kids, babies with this medical condition are at a higher risk for developing food allergies.
"Infants with severe eczema that persists despite the daily use of skin moisturizers and requires treatment with prescription-strength topical steroids are at highest risk to develop food allergies," said David Stukus, MD, a pediatric allergist at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Ohio. "Parents of these children should discuss when and how to introduce peanuts with their pediatrician before giving [them] at home."
According to medical experts at the forefront of the research, the correlation has been hard to ignore. Jon M. Hanifin, MD, a professor of dermatology at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, breaks down the numbers.
"Considering that six to 10 percent of children have atopic dermatitis [eczema] and that up to one-third of those individuals may have a documented food allergy, the number of these children affected by food allergies may be significant," said Dr. Hanifin. "In most cases, patients experience atopic dermatitis before food allergies, so it is important for parents of infants and small children affected by this skin condition to be aware of the risk of food allergies."
Noticing potential eczema flare-ups on your little one? Make an appointment with an allergist for an evaluation ASAP, especially if your kiddo under the age of 5 has:
- severe eczema despite already seeking treatment and using over-the-counter or prescription lotion.
- had mild or severe allergic reactions to certain foods previously.
Still, the guidelines outlined by the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend introducing peanut products to your child early on, even if your little one has eczema. It suggests letting kids who fall into this category try peanuts between 4 and 6 months old, as long as allergy testing has been completed by a pediatrician. Having doubts about how your kiddo may react? Never hesitate to contact your pediatrician or make an appointment with an allergist.