Does Your Child Have Eggzema?
Media Release for immediate use, June 2008
Does Your Child Have Eggzema?
Egg Allergy Commonly Sparks Eczema Says Leading Paediatrician And Allergist
Eggs are one of the most common causes of food allergy in children. Even breast fed babies can have allergic reactions to egg proteins that come through mother’s breast milk.
Doctor Rodney Ford is a world-renowned expert in food allergies and a key note speaker at the Gluten Free Food and Allergy Show in Auckland on July 5th and 6th. He says that testing for egg allergy in all eczema children would transform many of these children. The test is a simple, painless and effective way of diagnosing an egg allergy.
Unfortunately, the immune system of allergy children can identify egg proteins as harmful. This triggers the production of antibodies to neutralize the protein (allergen). These antibodies go on to cause the array of symptoms experienced by allergy sufferers: Although egg whites are the most common cause of allergy, both yolk and white contain a number of proteins that can cause reactions.
Egg allergy symptoms differ from child to child and can take a few minutes or a few hours to manifest. Symptoms range from mild skin inflammation, eczema, allergic asthma, nausea and vomiting, to anaphylaxis, a life threatening reaction causing blockage to the airways and breathing.
The good news is that most children, around 80%, will grow out of their egg allergy by the time they are five years old.
George William Higgins
A story from his parents Jane and Brent Higgins
“George developed eczema on his body, legs and face when he was about 2 months old and it steadily got worse. I breast fed George up until he was 6 months old and tried going dairy free for 3 weeks however this did not improve his eczema. While George did have some settled periods, he was mostly difficult to settle, both during the day & night, would wake during the night screaming and from about 5 months would be constantly scratching all over his body where the eczema was. It was tough dealing with George's unsettled times with a lack of sleep and constantly worried about what I was eating or what I should be giving George to eat & if it was affecting him or not.
When George was 6 months old we took him to Dr Rodney Ford and he had skin tests which showed he was allergic to egg, peanut, dairy, soy and goat milk. We then switched to Pepti Junior as a milk substitute and avoided all the foods he was allergic to. We also started giving George probiotics. Although it took a couple of months for George's skin to clear up to the point he was no longer scratching, he did become a lot more settled generally. It was great to at least know what was causing the eczema and be able to do something positive to help George rather than trying to just manage it with creams and medicine's we weren't happy about giving him.
George is now a happy boy who sleeps well every night and has little trouble with his eczema. Knowing & being able to avoid the foods causing George's eczema has made life a lot easier for all of us.
Thank you Dr Ford!
Jane & Brent Higgins
It is possible to prevent food allergies in susceptible children. There are some simple steps that parents can take that may prevent an egg allergy from occurring; including not introducing eggs until after two years of age, when the child’s immune system is more developed. It is also useful to know that if one or both parents have a food allergy it may be more likely that their child will develop an allergy to eggs.
In the case of an egg allergy, all eggs and products containing eggs should be eliminated from a child’s diet. However, eggs are a great source of nutrients including protein and lecithin and will need to be replaced to ensure optimal nutrition is achieved. It is advisable to seek nutritional advice to ensure your child is receiving all the nutrients they need to growth and thrive.