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Food Allergies in Your Baby's First Year


a bowl of yogurt



Does anyone in your family have asthma, hay fever, eczema or food allergies? If so, your baby might have a food allergy, too.

An allergic reaction occurs when the body mistakes the protein (an allergen) in a food as harmful. An allergic reaction is the body’s immune system fighting back. It is not known why some children develop food allergies. Allergies tend to run in families. Talk about your family history with your doctor to find out if your toddler is at risk.

Symptoms of Food Allergy

Symptoms can range from mild to severe and typically appear within minutes (in some cases it may take hours, but this is unusual). The symptoms may include:

  • Hives (blotchy, pale bumps on the skin surrounded by red patches), swelling, redness and rash
  • Stuffy or runny nose with itchy, watery eyes
  • Vomiting, stomach cramps and diarrhea
  • Moderate to severe eczema

If you think a certain food is causing an allergic reaction, stop the food and get medical advice.

Some signs of food allergy are severe and require immediate attention. They include:

  • Swelling of the mouth, tongue and throat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Problems swallowing, hoarse (rough) voice, trouble speaking
  • Pale or blue colour of the face or lips
  • Feeling faint, weak or passing out
  • Hives that are spreading

Call 9-1-1 immediately if you see signs of a severe allergic reaction.

For advice on preventing or managing food allergies, call HealthLink BC at 8 1 1 to talk to a registered dietitian. Or speak with the public health dietician at your local public health office.

Resources & Links:

Reducing Risk of Food Allergy in Your Baby
Eczema and Food Allergy in Babies and Young Children
Food Allergies
Allergic Reaction

Last Updated: January 29, 2018