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  • Baby Eczema And Food Allergy Prevention: What Parents Need To Know

    By: Annie Bunje

Baby Eczema And Food Allergy Prevention: What Parents Need To Know

By: Annie Bunje

Baby Eczema And Food Allergy Prevention: What Parents Need To Know

By: Annie Bunje

67% of babies with severe eczema will develop a food allergy. Learn more about new medical guidelines for exposing babies with eczema to allergens.

  • Up to 67% of babies with severe eczema will develop a food allergy
  • Medical guidelines now recommend that babies with eczema be exposed to allergenic foods like peanut 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
  • For babies with severe eczema, it is recommended to consult with your pediatrician before starting early allergen introduction

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 70% of all 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.


What Are the New Medical Guidelines for Food Allergy Prevention in 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. What Should I Do to Reduce their Risk of Developing Food Allergies?

Research shows that babies with eczema are at highest risk of developing food allergies. Fortunately, early and sustained exposure to allergenic foods has been shown to significantly decrease this risk.  In fact, new guidelines from the NIH on baby food allergy prevention are specifically focused on infants with eczema as this risk group needs food allergy prevention, and in turn, early allergen introduction the most. Depending on the severity of your child’s eczema, parents should follow one of the following guidelines:

  • Babies with mild to moderate eczema:

    Early allergen introduction has been shown to help reduce their risk of developing food allergies by up to 80%. 
  • Babies with severe eczema:

    A discussion with your pediatrician is recommended before starting early allergen introduction.  Your pediatrician may recommend allergy testing prior to introducing any allergens.

Is your baby ready for early and sustained allergen introduction to reduce their risk of developing food allergies?  You can read more about childhood food allergy prevention in Dr. Marks-Cogan's recent blog post, or visit our How It Works page to learn more about how Ready, Set, Food! makes early and sustained allergen exposure gentle and easy for families.   

  

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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.  If your infant has severe eczema, check with your infant’s healthcare provider before feeding foods containing ground peanuts.

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