The terms allergies and intolerances are often used intertwined, however, they are quite different. An allergy will induce an immune response in a baby or child’s body, meaning the body mistakenly sees the protein as a threat and will send immune cells to fight it off, producing symptoms which can affect multiple organs in the body.
A food intolerance does not involve the immune system and therefore the symptoms are usually limited to digestive problems such as bloating, pain, wind, diarrhea and vomiting. Our dietitians can assess and treat your baby or child’s, whether it is a food intolerance or allergy.
Lactose is the sugar found in milk. Lactose intolerance is when a baby or child lacks the enzyme lactase, causing the undigested sugar to sit and ferment in the stomach. Lactose intolerance produces symptoms of gastrointestinal pain, wind, bloating, nausea and sickness.
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Cow’s milk protein in the protein found in cow’s milk. There are two types of cow's milk protein allergy; immediate and delayed. Immediate and delayed cow’s milk protein allergy produce symptoms of a rash, pain, reflux, colic, frequent crying in babies, skin reactions and eczema, nausea, vomiting and loose frequent stools.
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Egg allergy is a common allergy in babies and children but is usually grown out of by 5 years of age, when it can be reintroduced. Symptoms of egg allergy are skin inflammation, rash or hive, cramps, nausea and vomiting, blocked or runny nose and asthma symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, chest tightness or shortness of breath.
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Coeliac disease is neither an intolerance or allergy; it is an autoimmune disease which causes the body to attack the insides of the small intestine following the ingestion of gluten. Symptoms of coeliac disease are faltering growth and/or failure to thrive, iron deficiency anemia, weight loss, muscle wasting, diarrhoea, poor appetite, constant fatigue and an increased risk of cancer if the gluten free diet is not followed.
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Some children are diagnosed with multiple food intolerances and allergies. Babies and children with multiple food allergies and intolerances may have lots of different symptoms which change or do not go away completely when one allergen has been excluded.
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A baby or child can be allergic to almost any food but there are 14 main ones which are known to commonly produce allergic responses.
Read more about other intolerances and allergies
If your baby or child is presenting with food intolerance or allergy symptoms, we can help. Our paediatric dietitians can assess, diagnose and treat your baby or child according to the symptoms they present with. We understand you may have been to many healthcare appointments regarding your baby or child’s symptoms and have not yet received a diagnosis for your child, but our dietitians can help with this. To book an appointment please contact us.