I would like to understand about the link between childhood eczema and what children are eating. Are there trigger foods and are there foods that help calm it? I work in Early Years
There is still a lot that is not known about childhood eczema. Current thinking on this is that actually the eczema comes first and that by having eczema you are more likely to develop a food allergy. There has been a move away from avoiding introducing new foods which may cause allergies (for example, peanuts) to babies when they are being weaned as there is now some evidence to suggest that delayed introduction may actually be a factor in contributing to an allergy.
There are two main types of food reactions in children with eczema. The first is an immediate reaction (within 30 mins) where the child has various symptoms of an allergic reaction – for example, hives, itching, wheezing, diarrhoea and vomiting, or anaphylaxis. In this case a child should be referred to a specialist clinic by their GP.
The second type of reaction is delayed and causes the eczema to get worse 24-48 hours after eating the food. The food can be trigger for a flare up but does not cause eczema so avoiding the food will not cure the eczema but may in some instances help prevent it from getting worse. However, working out which food is the trigger is not easy, there are lots of complex reasons why eczema may become worse and the best course of action is the treat the eczema. Excluding foods from a diet can make it difficult to meet the child’s nutritional needs so advice from a dietician may need to be sought.
Jill and Emma
Dr Emma Haycraft https://www.childfeedingguide.co.uk/