Does my baby have a food allergy?

Food allergies seem to be very common. How to know when it is an allergy or something more serious? Dr. Wegman has some insights to share.

By Dr. Ayala Wegman



about the doc

Ayala Wegman is a clinical assistant professor in the department of pediatrics at NYU Grossman School of Medicine.  She has two young boys and deeply enjoys caring for her community at NYU-Langone Global Pediatrics on the Upper East Side of Manhattan where she resides. We are proud to introduce Ayala as our All About The Mom resident pediatrician. You will find her advice in our Ask a Doc section.


 I notice my baby gets a horrible rash around her face and in her diaper when she eats tomatoes.  Should I be worried she is allergic? What can I do to prevent this since she loves eating those foods so much?


When introducing new foods to children, it is a great idea to use a barrier ointment, such as petroleum jelly, around the mouth and lips to coat the skin and prevent contact irritation or dermatitis, which can sometimes be confused with an allergic reaction.  The emollient creates a protective layer so that the acidity of the food is less likely to irritate the skin.  Swelling of the lips and tongue would not occur from just a contact reaction, and if this is the case it is a medical emergency.


It is important that all parents are aware of the signs of anaphylaxis, how much Benadryl to have on hand in case of emergency, and when to call 911 and go to the ER.  For example, many parents do not realize that when both hives and vomiting occur acutely after ingestion of an allergic trigger, this is a true anaphylactic reaction.   If this occurs, call 911 immediately, as anaphylaxis warrants intramuscular epinephrine injection for treatment. Having a safety plan in place at both home and school will keep you prepared for emergencies.




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