Baby Eczema And Food Allergies: What Parents Need To Know
67% of babies with severe eczema will develop a food allergy. Learn more about new medical guidelines for introducing babies with eczema to allergens early and often.
- Up to 67% of babies with severe eczema will develop a food allergy
- Medical guidelines now recommend that babies with eczema be fed allergenic foods like peanut and egg early and frequently
- Because eczema usually develops earlier than food allergies, there is a critical window of time for families to act, starting at 4-6 months of age
What is Eczema and How Common is It?
Eczema (or dermatitis) is a general term for a group of inflammatory skin conditions. Atopic dermatitis, the most common type of eczema, causes red, dry, and itchy skin. In infants, this form of eczema usually affects the face, scalp, and skin creases, but can also involve other areas of the body.
Eczema affects up to 20% of children, and most cases begin in children before the age of five.
How Does Eczema Affect A Child’s Risk for Food Allergies?
Atopic dermatitis is considered an immunologic disease, just like food allergies. “Babies with eczema are at a higher risk than the general population for developing food allergies. In fact, up to 67% of infants with severe eczema and 25% of infants with mild eczema will develop a food allergy," explains Jonathan Spergel M.D., Board Certified Allergist and Member of the National Eczema Association Scientific Advisory Committee. Additionally, most babies with eczema will develop skin symptoms before developing food allergies.
Want to learn your baby's risk for developing food allergies? Take our quiz now!
What Are the New Food Allergy Guidelines for Babies with Eczema?
In 2017, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) started recommending early introduction of peanut for babies starting at 4-6 months of age, especially those with eczema. These new recommendations come as a result of recent landmark clinical trials, particularly the LEAP trial. You can read more about the new guidelines here.
Medical societies around the world are now issuing new recommendations for infants with eczema. Just recently, the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology issued a recommendation that babies with eczema be introduced to allergenic foods such as egg and peanut as early as 4 months of age.
My Child Has Eczema. Should I Introduce Allergens?
Research shows that babies with eczema are at highest risk of developing food allergies. Fortunately, early and sustained exposure to allergenic foods is recommended for babies with eczema. In fact, new guidelines from the NIH are specifically focused on infants with eczema as this risk group needs early allergen introduction the most.
Learn more about how the new 2020 USDA Guidelines Report recommend feeding peanut and egg starting at 4 months for every baby, including those with eczema here.
Is your baby ready for early and allergen introduction? You can read more about early allergen introduction from our Chief Allergist Dr. Katie Marks-Cogan's recent blog post, or take our quiz to learn more about your baby's food allergy risk and receive personalized early allergen introduction resources.
All health-related content on this website is for informational purposes only and does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the advice of your own pediatrician in connection with any questions regarding your baby’s health.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.