What is a food allergy? How do I know if my baby is having a reaction?

Baby eating

A food allergy happens when a person’s immune system reacts to a food protein because it has mistaken that food protein as a threat. The body’s response is what we know as an allergic reaction. The first symptoms of the allergic reaction usually appear within minutes or up to two hours after exposure to a food. Symptoms can range from mild to severe or even life-threatening and can occur alone or in combination. If you have any concerns about your baby’s response to a new food, seek medical attention or call 9-1-1 right away.

  • Mild symptoms:
    • Rash or a few hives around the mouth or face
    • Hives are red, itchy welts on the skin
  • Severe symptoms:
    • Swelling of the lips, face or tongue
    • Vomiting
    • Diarrhea
    • Widespread hives over the body
    • Wheezing
    • Repetitive coughing
    • Difficulty breathing
    • Skin color changing to pale or blue
    • Sudden tiredness or lethargy
    • Seeming limp

It is important to note that children have unique ways of describing their experiences and perceptions, and allergic reactions are no exception. Learn more about how a child might describe a reaction

Dad Feeding Baby

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