Baby trying food for the first time, 3 tips to lower risk of ‘food allergy’

Food allergy refers to an excessive immune response that occurs when a specific person ingests foods that are harmless to the general public, such as peanuts, eggs, milk, and seafood. Food allergy is known to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors, and it is estimated that about 3.8~5.1% of the total population in Korea has food allergy.

Food allergy symptoms include urticaria, atopic dermatitis, angioedema, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain all over the body. In particular, when they are about 6 months old, they taste food other than formula for the first time, and parents are worried that food allergy symptoms will appear. Eat This, Not That, a health information site in the US, explains that “just exposing your baby to food can reduce the risk of developing a food allergy by up to 80%” Here are some tips on how to introduce safely.

Food Allergies When Babies Start Weaning | Source: Getty Imagesbank

1. Don’t avoid it, try it early
Foods that are prone to allergic reactions include eggs, peanuts, nuts, shellfish, tomatoes, and peaches. Experts explain, “It is better to start feeding from 4 to 6 months of age, rather than delaying the intake of these foods due to vague concerns.” In the past, it was recommended to delay the first exposure to allergens as much as possible, but recently, a number of studies have published that it is more effective to contact them sooner rather than later. In a 2015 study by Professor Sooyoung Lee’s team in the Department of Pediatrics at Ajou University Hospital, it was also revealed that “even if at least one of a parent or sibling has a history of allergies, it is not necessary to avoid or limit intake of allergens, even if the infant is a high-risk infant.” .

In particular, in the case of peanut allergy, early exposure is more effective in prevention. A large study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2015 compared peanut intake among infants aged 4 to 11 months and found that babies who started eating peanuts later were more likely to develop peanut allergy than babies who started eating earlier. This was found to be more than five times higher. Experts explain that “the more delayed exposure to an allergic food, the more sensitive you may be to that food.”

However, apart from the risk of allergy, raw milk puts a burden on the baby’s kidneys and has a low iron content, so it is safe to feed it after the stone.

2. Pay close attention to allergens

If your baby ate an allergen for the first time, you should carefully check to see if there is any particular reaction. In particular, it is important to look for an ‘immediate-type allergy’ reaction that develops symptoms within a few minutes to several hours (usually 2 hours) after ingestion or contact. This reaction can be life-threatening even in very small amounts, and symptoms appear in various organs such as the skin, digestive system, respiratory system, and circulatory system. In particular, systemic allergic reactions such as anaphylaxis, angioedema, lowering blood pressure, and asthma attacks require immediate emergency treatment.

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Even if it is not a noticeable reaction, you should carefully check for subtle signs. Some mild reactions, such as a skin rash, swelling, or diarrhea, appear several hours after eating. If you notice these signs, you should stop eating the food and get an accurate diagnosis from a hospital. It is not right to limit the food by guessing just because an allergic reaction is suspected. After an accurate diagnosis, it is desirable to restrict only those foods that the specialist determines that restriction is necessary.

3. Cooking a variety of foods the right way
When preparing to give your baby a new food, you should pay more attention to the recipe for foods that can cause food allergies. Basically, babies are immature in swallowing, so it is good to soak them in warm water or grind them so that they do not get stuck in their throats. Eggs, in particular, must be cooked. It can be eaten safely and easily by gently mashing it and mixing it with milk or flour.

Dr Scott H. Sicherer, Professor of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology, explains, “It’s a good idea to vary your diet so that your baby can taste different allergens in different ways.” This is because by experiencing a variety of foods, you learn how to digest them in a healthier way.

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