What foods cause allergies in babies

Food Allergies in Children | Johns Hopkins Medicine

What is food allergy?

A food allergy is an abnormal response of the body to a certain food. It is important to know that this is different than a food intolerance, which does not affect the immune system, although some of the same symptoms may be present.

What causes food allergy?

Before having a food allergy reaction, a sensitive child must have been exposed to the food at least once before, or could also be sensitized through breast milk. It is the second time your child eats the food that the allergic symptoms happen. At that time, when IgE antibodies react with the food, histamines are released, which can cause your child to experience hives, asthma, itching in the mouth, trouble breathing, stomach pains, vomiting, and/or diarrhea.

What is the difference between food allergy and food intolerance?

Food allergy causes an immune system response, causing symptoms in your child that range from uncomfortable to life-threatening. Food intolerance does not affect the immune system, although some symptoms may be the same as in food allergy.

What foods most often cause food allergy?

Approximately 90 percent of all food allergies are caused by the following eight foods:

  • Milk

  • Eggs

  • Wheat

  • Soy

  • Tree nuts

  • Peanuts

  • Fish

  • Shellfish

Eggs, milk, and peanuts are the most common causes of food allergies in children, with wheat, soy, and tree nuts also included. Peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish commonly cause the most severe reactions. Nearly 5 percent of children under the age of five years have food allergies. From 1997 to 2007, the prevalence of reported food allergy increased 18 percent among children under age 18 years. Although most children "outgrow" their allergies, allergy to peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish may be lifelong.

What are the symptoms of food allergy?

Allergic symptoms may begin within minutes to an hour after ingesting the food. The following are the most common symptoms of food allergy. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • Vomiting

  • Diarrhea

  • Cramps

  • Hives

  • Swelling

  • Eczema

  • Itching or swelling of the lips, tongue, or mouth

  • Itching or tightness in the throat

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Wheezing

  • Lowered blood pressure

According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, it does not take much of the food to cause a severe reaction in highly allergic people. In fact, as little as 1/44,000 of a peanut kernel can cause an allergic reaction for severely allergic individuals.

The symptoms of food allergy may resemble other problems or medical conditions. Always consult your child's doctor for a diagnosis.

Treatment for food allergy

There is no medication to prevent food allergy. The goal of treatment is to avoid the foods that cause the symptoms. After seeing your child's doctor and finding foods to which your child is allergic, it is very important to avoid these foods and other similar foods in that food group. If you are breastfeeding your child, it is important to avoid foods in your diet to which your child is allergic. Small amounts of the food allergen may be transmitted to your child through your breast milk and cause a reaction.

It is also important to give vitamins and minerals to your child if he or she is unable to eat certain foods. Discuss this with your child's doctor.

For children who have had a severe food reaction, your child's health care provider may prescribe an emergency kit that contains epinephrine, which helps stop the symptoms of severe reactions. Consult your child's doctor for further information.

Some children, under the direction of his or her health care provider, may be given certain foods again after three to six months to see if he or she has outgrown the allergy. Many allergies may be short-term in children and the food may be tolerated after the age of 3 or 4.

Milk and soy allergy

Allergies to milk and soy are usually seen in infants and young children. Often, these symptoms are unlike the symptoms of other allergies, but, rather, may include the following:

Often, your child's doctor will change your baby's formula to a soy formula or breast milk if it is thought he or she is allergic to milk. If your child has problems with soy formula, your child's health care provider might change him or her to an easily digested hypoallergenic formula.

The symptoms of a milk or soy allergy may resemble other problems or medical conditions. Always consult your child's doctor for a diagnosis.

Prevention of food allergies

The development of food allergies cannot be prevented, but can often be delayed in infants by following these recommendations:

  • If possible, breastfeed your infant for the first six months.

  • Do not give solid foods until your child is 6 months of age or older.

  • Avoid cow's milk, wheat, eggs, peanuts, and fish during your child's first year of life.

Dining out with food allergies

If your child has one or more food allergies, dining out can be a challenge. However, it is possible to have a healthy and satisfying dining-out experience; it just takes some preparation and persistence on your part.

The American Dietetics Association offers these tips for dealing with food allergies when your family is eating away from home:

  • Know what ingredients are in the foods at the restaurant where you plan to eat. When possible, obtain a menu from the restaurant ahead of time and review the menu items.

  • Let your server know from the beginning about your child's food allergy. He or she should know how each dish is prepared and what ingredients are used. Ask about preparation and ingredients before you order. If your server does not know this information or seems unsure of it, ask to speak to the manager or the chef.

  • Avoid buffet-style or family-style service, as there may be cross-contamination of foods from using the same utensils for different dishes.

  • Avoid fried foods, as the same oil may be used to fry several different foods.

Another strategy for dining out with food allergies is to give your server or the manager a food allergy card. A food allergy card contains information about the specific items your child is allergic to, along with additional information, such as a reminder to make sure all utensils and equipment used to prepare your meal is thoroughly cleaned prior to use. You can easily print these cards yourself using a computer and printer. If your child is eating out with friends and you are not going to be present, give your child a food allergy card (or make sure the adult in charge has one) to give to the server.

Alternately, there are several types of allergy cards available on the internet that can be customized with your child's personal information. One example is the Food Allergy Buddy Dining Card, promoted by the National Restaurant Association.

The Food Allergy Initiative, in conjunction with the National Restaurant Association and the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network, has developed the Food Allergy Training Program for Restaurants and Food Services. This training program was developed to help restaurants and other food service outlets to ensure their customers, including those with food allergies, will receive a safe meal prepared to customer specifications.

Food Allergies (for Parents) - Nemours KidsHealth

What Are Food Allergies?

A food allergy happens when the body's immune system, which normally fights infections, sees the food as an invader. This leads to an allergic reaction. 

Even if previous reactions have been mild, someone with a food allergy is always at risk for the next reaction being life-threatening. So anyone with a food allergy must avoid the problem food(s) entirely and always carry emergency injectable epinephrine.

What Are the Most Common Food Allergens?

A child could be allergic to any food, but these common allergens cause 90% of all reactions in kids:

  • milk
  • eggs
  • peanuts
  • soy
  • wheat
  • tree nuts (such as walnuts and cashews)
  • fish
  • shellfish (such as shrimp)
  • sesame

What Are the Signs & Symptoms of a Food Allergy?

An allergic reaction is an immune system response in which chemicals like histamine are released in the body. An allergic reaction can be mild or severe. A person can have a severe reaction to a food even if their previous reactions were mild. Symptoms of an allergic reaction can include:

  • wheezing
  • trouble breathing
  • coughing
  • hoarseness
  • throat tightness
  • belly pain
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • itchy, watery, or swollen eyes
  • hives
  • red spots
  • swelling
  • a drop in blood pressure, causing lightheadedness or loss of consciousness (passing out)

Sometimes, an allergy can cause a severe reaction called anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis might start with some of the same symptoms as a less severe reaction, but can quickly get worse. The person may have trouble breathing or pass out. More than one part of the body might be involved. If it isn't treated with injectable epinephrine, anaphylaxis can be life-threatening.

What Is a Food Intolerance?

People often confuse food allergies with food intolerance. The symptoms of food intolerance can include burping, indigestion, gas, loose stools, headaches, nervousness, or a feeling of being "flushed." But food intolerance:

  • doesn't involve the immune system
  • can happen because a person can't digest a substance, such as lactose
  • can be unpleasant but is rarely dangerous

How Is a Food Allergy Diagnosed?

If your child might have a food allergy, the doctor will ask about:

  • your child's symptoms
  • the time it takes between eating a particular food and the start of symptoms
  • whether any family members have allergies or conditions like eczema and asthma

The doctor might refer you to an

allergist(allergy specialist doctor), who will ask more questions and do a physical exam. The allergist probably will order tests to help make a diagnosis, such as:

  • a skin test. This test involves placing liquid extracts of food allergens on your child's forearm or back, pricking the skin, and waiting to see if reddish raised spots (called wheals) form. A positive test to a food shows that your child might be sensitive to that food.
  • blood tests to check the blood for IgE antibodies to specific foods

Your child may need to stop taking some medicines (such as over-the-counter antihistamines) 5 to 7 days before the skin test because they can affect the results. Check with the allergist's office if you are unsure about what medicines need to be stopped and for how long.

If the test results are unclear, the allergist may do a food challenge:

  • During this test, a person slowly gets increasing amounts of the potential food allergen to eat while being watched for symptoms by the doctor. The test must be done in an allergist's office or hospital with access to immediate medical care and medicines because a life-threatening reaction could happen.

Food challenge tests are also done to see if people have outgrown an allergy.

How Are Food Allergies Treated?

A child who has a food allergy should always have two epinephrine auto-injectors nearby in case of a severe reaction. An epinephrine auto-injector is a prescription medicine that comes in a small, easy-to-carry container. It's easy to use. Your doctor will show you how. Always have two auto injectors nearby in case one doesn't work or your child needs a second dose.

The doctor can also give you an allergy action plan, which helps you prepare for, recognize, and treat an allergic reaction. Share the plan with anyone else who needs to know, such as relatives, school officials, and coaches. Wherever your child is, caregivers should always know where the epinephrine is, have easy access to it, and know how to give the shot. Also consider having your child wearing a medical alert bracelet.

Time matters in an allergic reaction. If your child starts having serious allergic symptoms, like trouble breathing or throat tightness, use the epinephrine auto-injector right away. Also use it right away if symptoms involve two different parts of the body, like hives with vomiting. Then call 911 and have them take your child to the emergency room. Medical supervision is important because even if the worst seems to have passed, a second wave of serious symptoms can happen.

How Can Parents Keep Kids Safe?

If your child has a food allergy, carefully read food labels so you can avoid the allergen. Ingredients and manufacturing processes can change, so it's important to read labels every time, even for foods your child has had safely in the past. The most common allergens should be clearly labeled. But less common allergens can be hidden in ingredients like natural flavors or spices.

One thing that might not show up on a label is cross-contamination risk. Cross-contamination happens when a food you are not allergic to comes in contact with a food you are allergic to. This can happen if a manufacturer uses the same equipment to grind lots of different foods, for example. Some companies state this on their labels to alert customers to the risk of cross-contamination with messages like: "May contain peanuts," "Processed in a facility that also processes milk," or "Manufactured on equipment also used for eggs." You'll want to avoid products that have these kinds of alerts.

But companies are not required to put cross-contamination alerts on a food label. So it's best to contact them to see if a product might been in contact with your child’s allergens. You may be able to get this information from a company website. If not, contact the company and ask.

When your child eats away from home, make sure anyone preparing food knows about the allergy and which foods to avoid. You may want to provide food that you know is safe for your child.

You can learn more about managing food allergies online at:

  • Food Allergy Research and Education Network (FARE)

Reviewed by: Larissa Hirsch, MD

Date reviewed: January 2022

Allergy Child Diet - Allergy and Asthma Treatment at Allergomed

The birth of a child is a joy for every family and, of course, parents want their child to grow up healthy, especially those who themselves suffer from allergic diseases.


Breastfeeding is essential to keep your baby less sick. What gives breastfeeding? It not only improves bowel function, forms the correct bite, protects against infectious diseases, but also strengthens the emotional bond between mother and child.

When a mother is breastfeeding, she must follow certain nutritional rules: exclude milk, replacing it with sour dairy products, and limit the consumption of chicken, fish, citrus fruits, nuts, cocoa coffee, because these products most often cause allergies. If the baby gains enough weight while breastfeeding, then the first complementary foods can be introduced at 6 months.

With a decrease in mother's milk, it is better to use non-traditional methods of treatment:
homeopathy and reflexology.


Formula-fed infants must receive formula. If the baby did not have any manifestations of allergies, then hypoallergenic mixtures are used (Humana, Nan GA, Hip GA), in the presence of allergic manifestations, the so-called hydrolysates (Alfare, Nutramigen, Pregestemil). Allergic reactions are caused by proteins.

In special mixtures, they are broken down into smaller components that no longer cause allergies. Parents need to remember that the new mixture is introduced gradually, adding 20 ml to each feeding. Thus, the introduction of a new mixture will take 5-7 days.

In recent years, soy allergy has become more common. Since soy inclusions are included in many products, soy mixtures are not recommended as substitutes for women's milk during artificial feeding.

Recently, a lot of various canned baby food has appeared. When choosing canned food for your baby, pay attention that green apple juice is included as a natural preservative, and not ascorbic acid or lemon juice.


In children of the first year of life, cow's milk, chicken egg (protein), fish and cereals (wheat, corn, barley, less often rice and buckwheat) cause allergies more often. For the prevention of food allergies in children under 1 year of age, cow's milk is excluded, up to 1. 5 years - chicken eggs, fish and seafood, up to 3 years of age - nuts.

It should be noted that children do not have “accumulation allergies”, after using the “guilty product”, allergy manifestations develop within a few minutes up to 4-5 hours.


Older children should also follow certain dietary guidelines.

All food products can be conditionally divided into three groups according to allergenicity: high, medium and low degree

  • First - (high degree of allergenicity): eggs, fish, seafood, caviar, wheat, rye, carrots, tomatoes, celery , bell pepper, wild strawberry, strawberry, raspberry, citrus, kiwi, pineapple, mango, coffee, cocoa, chocolate, mushrooms, nuts, honey, pomegranate, persimmon, melon;
  • Second - (moderately allergic): whole milk, butter, beef, chicken meat, buckwheat, oatmeal, potatoes, beets, peas, soybeans, apricots, peaches, cranberries, bananas, dark red cherries, rose hips , blueberries, lingonberries, black currants;
  • Third - (low allergenicity): sour - dairy products, horse meat, rabbit meat, lean pork, lean lamb, pearl barley, millet, refined vegetable oil, green varieties of apples and pears, white and red currants, yellow and white cherries, yellow varieties of plums, gooseberries, zucchini, squash, cucumbers, cabbage, corn, parsley, dill;

Despite the conditional division of products into degrees of allergenicity, it is recommended to start expanding the child's diet with products of the third group, gradually adding products from the second group and lastly from the first. Parents should be careful and exclude exactly those products that caused an allergic reaction. It must be remembered that the diet can not permanent. With age, the child's diet should be expanded.

It must be emphasized that products such as chocolate, fish, citrus fruits, strawberries, egg white, tomatoes, when used, can cause the formation of active substances that cause allergic reactions. The composition of a number of products, such as soy, spinach, Gouda cheese, Cheddar, canned food, tomatoes, corned beef, sauerkraut, tuna, mackerel, includes histamine - the main "culprit" of allergic reactions.

Some foods should be completely excluded from the diet of a child with an allergy, regardless of age: chewing sweets and gums, sauces, fruit juices, soft drinks, instant soups, confectionery, yogurt, jams, ice cream if they contain industrial dye - tartrazine (E 102).

Parents often try to adjust the child's diet on their own and their views on this problem are completely opposite.

Some of the parents believe that the child should be on the strictest diet, leaving the child literally "on water and cabbage." At the same time, they do not take into account the fact that a child is a growing organism, therefore he needs “building materials” for normal growth and development, as well as the fact that with age the list of “forbidden foods” decreases. So, for example, milk allergy is most typical for children under 1.5 years old. If at an older age the child has any health problems when drinking milk and dairy products, this is most likely a gastroenterological disease and further dietary correction should be discussed with a gastroenterologist.

Some parents, on the other hand, allow their child to eat literally everything, citing pity for the child. Of course, if the doctor recommends excluding any products from the diet, they should not be on the general table so as not to cause the child to feel “inferiority”, but strict adherence to the diet should be mandatory at a certain stage of treatment.
What is it for? So that in the future allergic skin lesions do not degenerate into more serious diseases, such as, for example, bronchial asthma.

At the appointment, parents often ask: “Will an allergy develop if the child is given all the foods in a small amount?”. An allergic reaction occurs when even an extremely small amount of the “guilty allergen” is consumed. If a child is prone to overeating, then exacerbations of the disease are not always allergic in nature.


Food allergy

May 30, 2018

Food allergy is a specific reaction of the body that occurs after eating certain foods (or their ingredients). Most often, such a protective reaction is caused by protein, less often by fats and / or carbohydrates.

People who are prone to food allergies should be aware that the same meal may contain several allergens, which will be perceived by their body as substances that carry a potential hazard.

Food allergies affect both adults and children. However, in young children, this problem is observed more often than in adults (due to the peculiarities of the course of physiological processes and unformed immunity). Experts note that in recent years, the number of people susceptible to this disease has been steadily increasing around the world.

Causes of food allergy

It is generally accepted that the pathology is hereditary. If one of the parents has a tendency to allergies, then the likelihood of the same reaction to certain foods in the baby is quite high. With two allergic parents, the child almost always has the same problem.

Help. Cross-type allergies are often diagnosed. This means that a person has a reaction to certain foods that cause allergies. For example, when eating beans, one was found. This means that there is a danger of a similar response of the body to other legumes. Moreover, if a person ate beans for the first time, there may not be any negative consequences, they develop after repeated use of the dish. In this case, repeated or prolonged intake of any food product leads to the body recognizing the allergen and responding to the irritant with characteristic symptoms.

Allergic foods

High Medium Low
Cow's milk, fish, eggs, nuts (cashews, hazelnuts, walnuts, peanuts, hazelnuts, pistachios), mushrooms, honey, chicken meat, carrots, citrus fruits, strawberries, strawberries, grapes, pomegranate, raspberries, melon, pineapple, chocolate, coffee, cocoa. Pork, turkey, rabbit, redcurrant, cranberries, peaches, apricots, potatoes, peas, green peppers, corn, cabbage, buckwheat, rice. Horse meat, lamb, zucchini, squash, turnip, pumpkin, sweet and sour apples, bananas, white currants, gooseberries, plums, watermelon, almonds, white cherries, cucumber.

Products that can cause allergies are divided into three types according to the degree of potential allergenicity: high, medium and low. Examples of allergenic foods are shown in the table below.

Important! It is impossible to help an allergic person without identifying the allergen according to the table of products with a high allergic potential. The patient's condition is assessed after consuming one or another product.

Cross food allergy

Cow's milk Goat's milk, products containing cow's milk proteins, beef, veal and meat products thereof, cow's wool.
Kefir Molds, mold cheeses (roquefort, brie, dor blue, etc.), yeast dough, kvass, penicillin antibiotics, mushrooms
Fish Seafood (crabs, shrimps, caviar, lobsters, lobsters, mussels, etc. )
Chicken egg Chicken meat and broth, quail eggs and meat, duck meat, sauces, creams, mayonnaise with the inclusion of chicken egg components, pillow feathers, drugs (interferon, lysozyme, bifilis, some vaccines)
Carrot Parsley, celery, b-carotene, vitamin A
Strawberry Raspberry, blackberry, currant, lingonberry
Apples Pear, quince, peach, plum
Potato Eggplant, tomatoes, green and red capsicum, paprika, tobacco
Nuts Kiwi, mango, flour (rice, buckwheat, oatmeal), sesame seeds, poppy seeds
Bananas Kiwi, melon, avocado
Legumes Peanuts, soybeans, peas, beans, lentils, mangoes, alfalfa
Drain Almonds, apricots, cherries, nectarines, peaches, wild cherries, sweet cherries, prunes, apples

Previously, patients often could not choose the best option for nutrition and treatment (even if the main irritant was detected). In many patients, in the absence of interaction with the allergen, the symptoms did not disappear at all or a relapse began. This prompted scientists to conduct full-scale studies. The term "cross-allergy" was introduced, and now new approaches are being used in medicine for compiling a daily menu and selecting medicines.

Example. The patient has a true allergy to wheat. Under certain conditions, it develops on other cereals. So, it is necessary to exclude all these cereals from food.

Experts have developed a list of allergen lookalikes that patients may develop an adverse reaction upon contact with. When compiling cross-food allergy tables, the following principle is used - the allergen that causes the main reaction is taken as the basis. Then groups of irritating substances are identified that have a similar structure (and hence an identical reaction of the body).

Symptoms of the disease

Immediately after eating, there is swelling of the lips and mouth. Then (as the food moves through the digestive tract) the following symptoms join:

  • Nausea.
  • Attacks of vomiting.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Diarrhea.

Other signs:

  • Skin rash.
  • Itching of the skin.
  • Redness.
  • Runny nose, cough (less common).

In a severe form of the disease, negative reactions may occur only when smelling and touching certain foods. In this case, the patient may develop an allergy in several organs.

The condition is accompanied by:

  • Swelling of the pharynx, itching.
  • Significant skin rashes.
  • Profuse sweating.
  • A sharp drop in blood pressure.
  • Respiratory depression.

If the patient is not provided with competent medical assistance, anaphylactic shock develops, in which the probability of death is high.

Diet for food allergies

Therapeutic and preventive nutrition for food allergies involves:

  1. complete exclusion from the daily menu of those foods that cause negative symptoms;
  2. some limitation of the number of dishes with medium allergenic activity.

It is quite difficult for an ordinary person to independently develop a competent individual nutrition algorithm. Therefore, for the treatment of food allergies and the selection of the optimal way of nutrition, you should contact qualified specialists. You should not use any diets that are published in pseudo-scientific articles on the Internet!

Doctors recommend subsequently, after making a diagnosis, gradually and under the supervision of the attending physician, introduce a number of foods into the diet in order to identify individual reactions of the body to each of them.

People who have been diagnosed with this disease should carefully read the information on the packaging before buying a product in a store. Often, allergic reactions occur on products belonging to the low-allergenic group. Therefore, the selection of a diet should be carried out on an individual basis.

The patient requires self-discipline and strict adherence to the doctor's instructions. A reasonable solution would be to eat each of the products once every 4-5 days. Perhaps the reaction does not develop to a specific dish, but to the accumulation of a certain allergen from it, when it enters the body regularly and concentrates in it.

It should be understood that while observing even the most strict hypoallergenic diet, one must nevertheless pay due attention to the diversity of the diet. Including permitted foods in food every day, one should strive to ensure that the body receives the entire set of vital components (proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, fats, macro- and microelements). Otherwise, a person will experience a deficiency of nutrients and this will lead to the development of various pathologies and a deterioration in well-being.


The main method widely used to effectively treat food allergies is the elimination diet. This means that the patient is forbidden to temporarily consume certain products, the allergic response to which has been accurately established. This type of therapy is used for both adults and children, including babies with allergies to dairy products. Practice shows that in most cases the symptoms of the disease completely disappear after a certain period of time.

Attention! Only a doctor can treat a disease with medicines for food allergies! You can not independently purchase any medicines and experiment with them. There are high-quality medicines that have proven their high effect in clinical trials and practical application. They are actively used during an exacerbation (under the strict supervision of an experienced doctor).


Preventive measures include regular follow-up with specialists, examinations, strict adherence to doctor's instructions, adherence to dietary rules and taking medications. It is recommended to purchase drugs for the treatment and prevention of the disease from reputable suppliers. Social pharmacies of Stolichka are an impeccable reputation, favorable prices and a guarantee of the quality of all medicines.

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