Is My Baby Having an Allergic Reaction? and What Parents Need to Know About Prevention
Learn what allergic reactions look like, steps to take if your baby develops a food allergic reaction, and how to reduce your baby’s food allergy risk.
All babies are at risk for food allergies, so it’s important to know the signs of a possible allergic reaction, the procedures to follow if your baby reacts to a food, and how you can help reduce your baby’s risk of developing a food allergy.
What does a food allergic reaction look like?
In babies and young children, hives and vomiting are the most common symptoms of a food allergic reaction.
- Other mild to moderate symptoms include swelling of the face, lips, and eyes.
- Symptoms of an allergic reaction usually occur seconds to minutes after someone eats a food that they are allergic to, and almost always occur within 2 hours.
Keep in mind that the same person can have varying symptoms from one food allergic reaction to the next.
- So, it's impossible to predict what type of reaction a person will have each time they eat a food that they are allergic to.
Most importantly, be mindful that a mild to moderate reaction can sometimes quickly develop into anaphylaxis.
- This is true even for someone who has never had a food allergic reaction, or who has only had mild to moderate reactions previously.
What does anaphylaxis look like?
When the symptoms of a food allergic reaction are severe, and involve more than one organ system, the reaction is classified as anaphylaxis. And anaphylaxis can be life-threatening.
Symptoms of a severe food allergic reaction can include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Noisy breathing
- Swelling of the tongue
- Swelling or tightness of the throat
- Difficulty swallowing
- Persistent coughing
- Change in voice or cry/difficulty vocalizing
- Fainting /collapse
- Pale appearance
- Feeling floppy (infants and young children only)
What should I do if my baby has an allergic reaction?
If your baby shows any signs of an allergic reaction:
- Immediately stop feeding your baby the allergenic food.
- Seek medical advice.
If your baby shows signs of a mild to moderate allergic reaction:
- Closely monitor baby for signs of a severe allergic reaction. After all, a mild to moderate reaction could rapidly develop into anaphylaxis.
- Consult your pediatrician or a health care provider.
If your baby shows signs of a severe allergic reaction/anaphylaxis:
- Lay baby flat in your arms. Never hold them upright, and do not let them stand or walk.
- If they have difficulty breathing, sit them up.
- If they are vomiting, or have fainted, lay them on their side.
- Immediately administer epinephrine with an auto-injector (EpiPen) if available
- Keep track of the exact time you used the auto-injector.
- It's extremely important that your baby receive epinephrine promptly, as epinephrine is the only medication that can stop anaphylaxis.
- Urgently call 911. State that your baby is having an anaphylactic reaction, and ask for an ambulance.
- If you used an epinephrine auto-injector, let the ambulance staff know when you used it, and give the used auto-injector to the staff.
- Be aware that your baby may develop a second reaction after the first anaphylactic reaction.
- This second reaction is known as a "biphasic" reaction.
- A biphasic reaction occurs when symptoms improve, but then worsen, 4-24 hours after the first reaction.
- If your baby develops a biphasic reaction, or if symptoms of the first reaction don't improve after baby receives epinephrine, baby will need a second dose of epinephrine from a second auto-injector.
How can I reduce my baby’s chances of having an allergic reaction?
Recent landmark studies show that delaying the introduction of allergenic foods for a baby’s first 1-3 years of life can actually increase their food allergy risk. Instead, introducing infants to common allergenic foods early and often, between 4-11 months of age, can help reduce their risk of developing a food allergy by up to 80%.
For maximum safety and efficacy when introducing allergenic foods, parents should follow these tips:
- When you’re ready to introduce allergenic foods, choose a time when your baby is healthy.
- Make sure that an adult can closely monitor your baby for at least 2 hours, to watch for any signs of a reaction.
- Introduce one allergenic food at a time, as pediatric guidelines recommend. Wait 3-5 days in between introducing each new potentially allergenic food. That way, it will be easier to identify if your child has a reaction.
- Start with a smaller dose of each allergen and slowly increase the dosage. This gradual approach was used in some of the landmark studies.
Ready, Set, Food! lets your family safely and effectively introduce allergenic foods to your baby. Here’s everything you need to know about how Ready, Set, Food! takes safety seriously:
Early bottle introduction: Ready, Set, Food! dissolves into breastmilk or formula, so you don’t need to wait until your baby is ready for solids to start allergen introduction. Instead, you can start Ready, Set, Food! as early as 4 months of age, with any baby. And at this early age, reactions, if they do occur, are known to be mild.
Evidence-based dosing: Ready, Set, Food! uses the exact protein amounts used in the landmark clinical studies on early and sustained allergen introduction. None of these studies documented severe allergic reactions.
Gradual, gentle approach: Our system starts with an ultra-low dose of each allergenic food, before slowly increasing to the amount used in the clinical trials. As a result, the initial allergen exposures are much gentler than what families typically feed their infants.
Sequential introduction: Allows families to introduce one allergen at a time over several days, which follows AAP recommendations.
Avoids cross-contamination: Ready, Set, Food! makes the preparation of allergenic foods for early allergen introduction much safer for siblings and parents with food allergies, by eliminating the risk of cross-contamination in the house. Our easy stick packs being poured directly into a bottle limit exposure for a food allergic family member, far better than any alternative.
Recommended by medical professionals: Over 300 pediatricians and allergists already recommend Ready, Set, Food!
Ready, Set, Food! can help reduce your baby’s risk of developing a food allergy by up to 80% safely and effectively, and bring them one step closer to food allergy freedom!
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.