With an eye on the food allergy community as a unique group of consumers since 2008, we're on a quest to find and share ways to continue enjoying the good things in life allergen-free.

06 August 2012

Eczema as an indicator of food allergies

When my son was a young infant, not long after he was born, he had eczema all over his body. The pediatrician told me to apply vaseline and that did not help ease the itching at all. He wiggled about in his crib as best he could, trying to soothe the itch. I took him to three different specialists to find out how to get rid of it. The best treatment was application of a corticosteroid. Three years later, he was diagnosed with food allergies, specifically peanut and tree nut. It has been almost 9 years since the eczema began, and I still see mothers posting questions in forums asking for advice on how to get rid of their infant's eczema. The mothers apply various moisturizing creams to no avail. Others--you can tell they have been down this road--ask if the infant has been tested for allergies and the answer is no.

Recently, I had the opportunity to ask some questions of a few of the doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children. (Thank you MGHFC!) One of my questions was about eczema and when parents should ask their pediatrician or primary doctor about food allergies in connection to the eczema. Dr. Shreffler--Director of the Food Allergy Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital--recommended a resource for reading: NIH's Guidelines for Diagnosis and Management of Food Allergy in the United States: A Summary for Patients, Families, and Caregivers. Dr. Shreffler pointed out that these guidelines mention eczema as an indicator of food allergy. See page 9 of the document, where the heading states "When should your healthcare professional suspect food allergy?" 

These guidelines, published in May 2011, warrant perusal by anyone who thinks they or a loved one may have food allergies. It's been a while since I read the document, but I plan to re-read it soon. It's only 36 pages, an accessible read for patients and caregivers and it's chockfull of good food allergy management info. I think I will add it to my list of resources for food allergy newbies. 
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