What is a food allergy? How do I know if my baby is having a reaction?
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
- Widespread hives over the body
- 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.