Nav: Home

Allergic reactions to foods are milder in infants

July 11, 2018

Symptoms of food-induced anaphylaxis in infants are much less severe than in toddlers and older children, according to a study from Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Anaphylaxis is defined as a reaction that involves multiple systems in the body or a presentation with significant cardiac or respiratory symptoms.

While in older children an allergic reaction to food can be life-threatening, anaphylaxis in infants mostly manifests as hives and vomiting, the study found. With over 350 cases analyzed, including 47 infants, this is the largest study to date to describe food-induced anaphylaxis in infants under 1 year of age compared to other age groups.

"We found that infants, unlike older children, have a low-severity food-induced anaphylaxis, which should come as reassuring news to parents who are about to introduce their baby to potentially allergenic foods like peanuts," says lead author Waheeda Samady, MD, from Lurie Children's, who also is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. "Since early introduction of peanuts is now encouraged by national guidelines, it is understandable that parents might be fearful of triggering a serious reaction."

The latest guidelines from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, released January 2017, recommend that infants be introduced to peanut-containing foods between 4 and 6 months of age. These guidelines are a major shift from previous recommendations to avoid early introduction of peanut-containing products. The current guidelines are based on a study demonstrating that early peanut introduction to high-risk infants significantly decreased their risk of developing peanut allergy.

To describe food-induced anaphylaxis in infants, Dr. Samady and colleagues conducted a retrospective review of children who presented with this condition at the Lurie Children's emergency department over a two-year period. Their analysis included 47 infants, 43 toddlers, 96 young children and 171 school-aged children.

They found that infants presented with gastrointestinal symptoms more frequently than any other age group (89 percent of infants vs. 63 percent of toddlers, 60 percent of young children and 58 percent of school-aged children). Vomiting, in particular, was present in 83 percent of infants. Infants and toddlers also presented with skin involvement more often than school-aged children (94 percent in infants and 91 percent in toddlers vs. 62 percent in school-aged children), with hives as the most common skin manifestation found in 70 percent of infants. Any respiratory symptoms including cough were more common in older age groups (17 percent in infants vs. 44 percent in young children and 54 percent in school-aged children). Only one infant in the study presented with wheezing. Low blood pressure also was present in only one infant. No infant in the study died from anaphylaxis.

"If a baby develops only a mild rash or gastrointestinal symptoms after trying a new food, we advise parents to discuss this reaction with the child's physician," says senior author Ruchi Gupta, MD, MPH, from Lurie Children's, who also is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. "If there are multiple symptoms, make sure to call 911 and get emergency help immediately."
-end-
Dr. Gupta is the Mary Ann and J. Milburn Smith Research Professor for a Sr. Scientist in Child Health Research at the Stanley Manne Children's Research Institute at Lurie Children's. She also is Director of the Science & Outcomes of Allergy & Asthma Research (SOAAR) Program based at Lurie Children's and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Research at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago is conducted through the Stanley Manne Children's Research Institute. The Manne Research Institute is focused on improving child health, transforming pediatric medicine and ensuring healthier futures through the relentless pursuit of knowledge. Lurie Children's is ranked as one of the nation's top children's hospitals in the U.S.News & World Report. It is the pediatric training ground for Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Last year, the hospital served more than 208,000 children from 50 states and 58 countries.

Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago

Related Infants Articles:

Probiotic may help treat colic in infants
Probiotics -- or 'good bacteria' -- have been used to treat infant colic with varying success.
Deaf infants' gaze behavior more advanced than that of hearing infants
Deaf infants who have been exposed to American Sign Language are better at following an adult's gaze than their hearing peers, supporting the idea that social-cognitive development is sensitive to different kinds of life experiences.
Initiating breastfeeding in vulnerable infants
The benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and child are well-recognized, including for late preterm infants (LPI).
Young infants with fever may be more likely to develop infections
Infants with a high fever may be at increased risk for infections, according to research from Penn State College of Medicine.
Early term infants less likely to breastfeed
A new, prospective study provides evidence that 'early term' infants (those born at 37-38 weeks) are less likely than full-term infants to be breastfeed within the first hour and at one month after birth.
Infants are more likely to learn when with a peer
Researchers at the University of Connecticut and University of Washington looked at the mechanisms involved in language learning among nine-month-olds, the youngest population known to be studied in relation to on-screen learning.
Allergic reactions to foods are milder in infants
Majority of infants with food-induced anaphylaxis present with hives and vomiting, suggesting there is less concern for life-threatening response to early food introduction.
Non-dairy drinks can be dangerous for infants
A brief report published in Acta Paediatrica points to the dangers of replacing breast milk or infant formula with a non-dairy drink before one year of age.
Infants can't talk, but they know how to reason
A new study reveals that preverbal infants are able to make rational deductions, showing surprise when an outcome does not occur as expected.
Infants are able to learn abstract rules visually
Three-month-old babies cannot sit up or roll over, yet they are already capable of learning patterns from simply looking at the world around them, according to a recent Northwestern University study published in PLOS One.
More Infants News and Infants Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Making Amends
What makes a true apology? What does it mean to make amends for past mistakes? This hour, TED speakers explore how repairing the wrongs of the past is the first step toward healing for the future. Guests include historian and preservationist Brent Leggs, law professor Martha Minow, librarian Dawn Wacek, and playwright V (formerly Eve Ensler).
Now Playing: Science for the People

#566 Is Your Gut Leaking?
This week we're busting the human gut wide open with Dr. Alessio Fasano from the Center for Celiac Research and Treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital. Join host Anika Hazra for our discussion separating fact from fiction on the controversial topic of leaky gut syndrome. We cover everything from what causes a leaky gut to interpreting the results of a gut microbiome test! Related links: Center for Celiac Research and Treatment website and their YouTube channel
Now Playing: Radiolab

The Flag and the Fury
How do you actually make change in the world? For 126 years, Mississippi has had the Confederate battle flag on their state flag, and they were the last state in the nation where that emblem remained "officially" flying.  A few days ago, that flag came down. A few days before that, it coming down would have seemed impossible. We dive into the story behind this de-flagging: a journey involving a clash of histories, designs, families, and even cheerleading. This show is a collaboration with OSM Audio. Kiese Laymon's memoir Heavy is here. And the Hospitality Flag webpage is here.