Inherently allergic – this is the wrong reaction of the body of the baby to the action of some external circumstances, and most often it makes itself felt by rashes on the skin. Doctors call them atopic dermatitis, eczema, and neurodermatitis, and parents call them diathesis.
Rashes can appear as “islands” – only on the cheeks or in the folds of the skin, but it happens that they resemble a “plain” that covers almost the entire body of the baby. Outwardly, they also look different: the rash may look like slightly swollen reddish spots, sometimes with a “cap” – a crust, a rough or flaky surface.
In the worst case, they begin to get wet: the top layer of specks peels off, in its place there is a wound through which ooze is flowing — the nipple (doctors will say exudative diathesis or weeping children’s eczema). But that is not all. The rash may appear as blisters resembling mosquito bites or nettle burns, for which they are called “urticaria”.
In some cases, the case goes without redness, just the skin of the baby becomes very dry and rough. On top of that, a child may have a nose setting, sometimes eyelids or lips swell.
And finally, regardless of how they look, all the rashes caused by allergies are usually very itchy.
Allergy manifestations are several.
- A one-time acute reaction to a particular product: the baby ate something, and almost immediately or after some time (no later than 12 hours), he developed a rash. Usually they pass quickly, 1-2 days after the “culprit trouble” is excluded from the diet.
- Congenital intolerance of some component of food: for example, the baby always reacts to potatoes, even if they eat very little, but at the same time calmly eats “allergenic” beets, red apples, oranges and tangerines.
- Persistent allergies are different from all other options persistent rashes – they last more than 7 days. Their size and appearance may not change with time, but may increase or will either decrease or grow again. In this case, they arise against the background of the usual food and do not go away, even if something is changed in the baby’s diet.
Most often, food allergy passes in babies without a trace and without consequences, but one should not expect the child to “outgrow” the disease. Maybe the adaptation systems will work without help, or maybe not – then the harmless eruptions run the risk of becoming a serious illness.
The allergy that has become “habitual” means that malfunctions have occurred in the system of protection against it and the baby has become addicted to the food. Allergens (the so-called substances that cause a reaction) can become all foreign substances entering the body: any food (including breast milk), bacteria and viruses, drugs, and so on.
As for the reaction to the products, much depends on the coordinated work of the immune system and the gastrointestinal tract.
Antiallergic protection of our body works like this: as soon as food gets into the mouth, the immune system comes into play, the participants of which (lysozyme, immunoglobulins, macrophages and others) neutralize foreign substances. Then the food is in the upper parts of the digestive system, where it must be ground to such a state that, without causing allergies, pass through the intestinal wall into the blood.
The correct work of the pancreas, an influential participant in the antiallergic defense, is very important here, because it is the one that secretes enzymes that break up food.
The last stage of the “movement” – absorption into the blood – goes with the participation of bacteria of the normal intestinal flora (mainly bifidobacteria and lactobacilli), which are part of the film covering the entire intestine from the inside. Thanks to this filter, safe and non-allergenic substances enter the blood.
Food allergies are not one, but a whole complex of problems, because of which the baby’s body cannot adapt to one or all of the food components (for example, proteins, fats, carbohydrates). The main reasons for such a disorder are problems in the immune system, the gastrointestinal tract (including intestinal dysbiosis) and the appearance of worms or harmful microorganisms in the intestine (bacteria – staphylococcus, klebsiella, viruses, Giardia).
Unfortunately, all these events are interconnected: for example, problems in the immune system have the potential to multiply infections.
What sets the stage for allergies? First, the baby could get a tendency to her inheritance. Secondly, before birth or during childbirth, he could be in difficult conditions that violated the natural course of events.
These include, for example, the effects of certain drugs that were prescribed to his mother during pregnancy (primarily antibiotics and hormones), cesarean section surgery, late attachment to the breast, a hasty transition to artificial nutrition or early (up to 4–5 months) introduction to his diet is new products.
Almost every small city dweller has experienced allergies at least once in his life, and for 30% of children, most of whom are babies of 2–3 years old, it becomes a constant problem.
Often, the gastroenterologist becomes the first in the chain of specialists to whom allergic children fall. Do not be surprised, this is correct!
If a baby has an allergy in the form of a rash on the skin, first of all you need to examine its gastrointestinal tract. The skin is a mirror of the intestines, almost 90% of problems with it are caused by disturbances in its work.
It is important to pass an analysis of feces for dysbacteriosis and coprology (this study shows whether food is well digested); useful information about the status of the pancreas often gives abdominal ultrasound.
When the results of all these studies are in your hands, consult a pediatric gastroenterologist. Why not to an immunologist, you ask? The fact is that the gastrointestinal tract is not only the digestive organ, but also an important participant in the immune system, therefore any gastroenterologist “in combination” is also an immunologist.
This means that allergic skin problems, especially if the rash appeared in a child under 1 year old (at this age, the violations are still “lying on the surface”), are in his jurisdiction.
If necessary, the doctor will prescribe a small patient additional studies: skin tests (children from 3 years) or a blood test for the determination of antibodies – IgE (starting from 1 year). Their presence is a sign of a “true” allergy – the most vivid confirmation of the malfunctioning of the immune system.
At this moment, allergists-immunologists are connected to the treatment of the child. Fortunately, this form of allergy is less common than the reactions that are so similar to it, caused by problems with adaptation to food.
Sometimes the baby is prescribed tests to detect an infection that can cause allergies – chlamydia, mycoplasma, Giardia, worms.
In the case of rashes, it consists of two parts: 1 – it is necessary to eliminate the causes of the allergy itself (to adjust the work of the immune system, the gastrointestinal tract, to get rid of dysbacteriosis and infection); 2 – remove the discomfort, especially itching, from the outside (using ointments) and from the inside (for this, antihistamines like Suprastin will be prescribed for the child). By the way, do not worry if the doctor prescribes hormonal ointments to the baby: if you use them only in moments of severe exacerbations when other products do not help, and for no more than 10–14 days in a row, they will not bring harm.
Since the food itself is not the cause of the allergy, restrictions on food cure it will not help. Moreover, the poverty of the diet may affect the development of the baby is not the best way.
What to do? It is necessary to adhere to the so-called hypoallergenic diet (if the baby eats only breast milk, it is followed by the mother), but do not exclude from its diet the vital components of the food – animal proteins (including milk and dairy products, cottage cheese, meat), vegetables, fruits and very carefully introduce him to them. In other words, it is necessary to strive for expansion, not narrowing of the diet of a little allergic person, because if we do not introduce the body to something new, then it will not learn to perceive this new one.
Any restrictions should be temporary, your goal is to make the baby’s nutrition by age varied, catching the moment when his body is ready for it.
● Each new product needs to be administered one at a time (it takes at least 5–7 days to get used to the baby’s body) and gradually: start with 10 grams on the first day and gradually increase the serving size by a maximum of 2 times. Watch the baby’s reaction carefully.
● If you notice deterioration, continue to feed the baby with a new product, but do not increase the serving size for 3-4 days.
● Once everything is settled, offer the child “supplements.” And only in the case of another exacerbation give up on time from this product.
● After 2–3 weeks, try to return the “exile” to the baby’s diet, it is likely that during this time the mechanisms of anti-allergic protection and adaptation systems have become stronger and no longer react to the recent “enemy”.
● If the baby had no allergies for the time being, and then she suddenly appeared, there is no need to transfer him to a strict diet. Proceed according to the scheme we described above.
What is a hypoallergenic diet, which experts say? This is a list of products that should not be given to children with allergies at the time of exacerbation of the disease and which should be treated very carefully the rest of the time.
If you feed your baby with breast milk, and he already has a rash, discard them altogether.
- Red and orange vegetables and fruits: oranges, tangerines, apples, carrots, tomatoes.
- Nuts, especially hazelnuts, peanuts.
- Fish and seafood.
- Goose meat, ducks.
- Sweets and chocolate.
- Various smoked meats.
- Vinegar, mustard, mayonnaise, ketchup, horseradish.
- Radish, radishes, eggplants.
- Whole uncooked and undiluted cow’s milk. Keep in mind that boiled milk (in porridge or tea) and all its derivatives are not banned.
- Strawberries, strawberries, melons, pineapples and other exotic fruits.
- Sweet dough.
- Products whose composition includes food additives: E102, E127, all E2 .. (preservatives), E621 (monosodium glutamate).