Allergies in Children


Up to 8% of children will develop food allergy in the UK.  Paediatric allergy can be divided into IgE mediated or non IgE mediated allergy:

Immediate-type food allergy (IgE mediated)Delayed-type food allergy (non IgE mediated)
Symptoms are caused by IgE antibodies, and usually occur within 30 minutes (but certainly within 2 hours) of eating the triggering food.

Mild/Moderate allergic symptoms:

– Swollen lips, face or eyes
– Itchy skin rash eg “hives”Abdominal pain, vomiting
– Rhinitis, itchy/watery eyes.

Severe symptoms (anaphylaxis):

Airway: Persistent cough, swollen tongue, hoarse voice/cry.

Breathing: Difficult/noisy breathing, wheezing.

Consciousness: Pale or floppy, unconscious/unresponsive.
Symptoms usually happen hours to days later, and:

– Resolve when that food is avoided
– Recur when the food is eaten again

Gut symptoms:

– Recurrent abdominal pain
– Feeding difficulties /reflux symptoms
– Loose/frequent stools (>6-8 times/day) or constipation/infrequent stools (2 or fewer per week), occasionally blood in the stool
– Poor weight gain.

Skin symptoms:

– Skin reddening, itching, eczema flares.

Delayed type food allergy is of particular concern when the baby’s growth is also affected. Delayed type allergy is not caused by IgE antibodies and cannot cause anaphylaxis.
(BSACI – British Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology)

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