Eczema and food allergies

What is eczema?

Eczema, also known as atopic eczema or atopic dermatitis.

Eczema is a skin condition causing inflammation and intense irritation/itching of the skin.

Atopy or being ‘atopic’ means having a genetic tendency for your immune system to make increased levels of IgE antibodies to certain allergens.

Do food allergies cause eczema?

No, children are born with the tendency to have eczema and there are certain ‘triggers’ for eczema, which can make it worse. Food can be a trigger for eczema especially in young babies but foods are not the primary cause of the eczema.

Not every baby with eczema has a food allergy (and vice versa), but the EARLIER the onset and the more SEVERE the eczema is, the more likely it is to be associated with a food allergy. 

Eczema triggers

There are also many other triggers for eczema such as heat, irritants such as soaps, chemicals such as chlorine in a swimming pool, fabrics such as wool, contact allergens such as house dust mite, pollen or animal dander, viral or bacterial infections.

Allergy UK has excellent information about eczema if you would like to read more.

Introducing solids to a baby with eczema

If your baby has early onset eczema (in the first 3-6 months) and/or another food allergy, they may benefit from the introduction of egg and peanuts earlier, between 4 and 6 months of age, alongside other foods, in order to try and prevent an egg and/or peanut allergy from developing.

There is new guidance for parents and HCPs (July 2018) from BSACI and BDA FASG that I will reference below. If your baby has SEVERE eczema, you may wish to speak with your HCP before introducing egg and peanut as they may suggest skin prick tests first. See the reference below for more information

https://www.bsaci.org/about/early-feeding-guidance

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