Eczema can come and go and can migrate around the body—just as one patch clears up, another may develop. This is the chronic nature of the disease. When the skin cycles back to inflammation, the patient is experiencing a flare-up. Contrary to popular belief, foods or food allergies do not cause eczema, even though a certain food may contribute to an acute flare of eczema.

So what are the symptom’s of a potential food allergy or a food intolerance look like? Some symptoms of food allergies are similar to food poisoning, while others may be confused with asthma or environmental allergies, and still, others may signal a food intolerance, such as lactose intolerance. It can be a challenging puzzle to figure out whether your child is allergic to a specific food.

To complicate the picture, your child may describe his or her symptoms differently than an adult would. The child might say, “This is too spicy,” or, “My tongue feels thick,” when eating a food that triggers an allergic reaction. Alternatively, children may become very fussy or irritable and be unable to explain what they are experiencing.  Or, they might have rashes develop and flare up on their delicate skin.

It’s important to understand that food protein intolerance can begin to show up while a baby is breastfeeding before the baby starts eating food independently. This happens because food proteins can pass through breast milk.

How do you really know if your child is experiencing the symptoms of a food allergy? The following eight foods are responsible for about 90% of all food allergies:

  1. Milk
  2. Soy
  3. Egg
  4. Wheat
  5. Tree nuts
  6. Peanuts
  7. Fish
  8. Shellfish

The symptoms of a classic (Ig-E mediated) food allergy typically begin within two hours of eating the trigger food. Conversely, the symptoms of food sensitivity, such as lactose intolerance or an auto-immune disorder like celiac disease, may be delayed by as much as 12 hours. With the onset of a food allergic reaction, acute symptoms occur and may affect the skin, stomach, airways, eyes, or the entire body. The signs that your child may be experiencing an allergic reaction to food may include:

Skin Reactions. Food allergies can cause skin rashes, such as hives. They are very itchy. Another skin reaction is eczema, a scaly, itchy rash that may blister or peel. It’s common to see swelling of the skin, especially around the eyes and lips. Many hives all over your child’s body, significant swelling, or worsening of hives over time are serious conditions and need medical care.

Stomach and digestive tract symptoms. Stomach and gastrointestinal symptoms, such as vomiting and diarrhoea, are often the fastest way the body can get rid of the offending food allergen. Common stomach or gastrointestinal symptoms indicating a food allergic reaction may include:

  • Upset stomach or feel like throwing up
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea

Respiratory symptoms. Food allergies can affect the lungs, throat, or your child’s ability to breathe. Respiratory symptoms include:

  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • Runny nose
  • Swelling of lips, tongue, eyes, or face

Swelling of the airways to the point where the child has trouble breathing, has a short, barking cough, or has trouble swallowing is a sign of anaphylaxis and requires emergency treatment.

Severe, full-body reactions (anaphylaxis)Anaphylaxis is a reaction that involves multiple organ systems and causes drop-in blood pressure. It usually begins within two hours of eating an allergen and often begins within minutes. It may involve any of the above symptoms or a combination of the above plus any of the following:

  • Sense of impending doom
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Pale skin
  • Dizziness, light-headedness
  • Loss of consciousness

Research also suggests that eczema is a precursor to allergies. In fact, dermatologists typically advise parents of babies and children with eczema to be on the lookout for possible food allergies. A recent study of babies ages 3 months to 18 months found that even in mild cases of eczema, approximately 15% of the infants had been diagnosed with food allergies. Childhood food allergies and eczema is quite a rollercoaster ride.

Controlling factors or triggers that can cause a such as certain soaps, clothing fabrics, deodorants, carpet fibres, dust mites, and others in your environment can help minimise flare-ups. By minimising or eliminating potential triggers, you can help to reduce the number of flare-ups experienced.

One of the frustrating parts of eczema is that flare-ups can still occur even when you are diligently avoiding triggers and taking care of your little one’s skin. Keeping their skin moist is your first line of defence against eczema.

Our Manuka Biotic Recommendations

Manuka Biotic® Body LotionThick in texture and rich in emollients, the Manuka Biotic® Body Lotion moisturises even the driest of skin, creates an effective barrier, reduces inflammation, and fights bacteria. Our Manuka Biotic® Body Lotion is designed to hydrate and soothe dry, eczema-prone skin, aid in healing wounds and soothing irritated skin conditions. We combine organic New Zealand Manuka Oil with rosehip oil, jojoba oil, shea butter and vitamin E, that is excellent for healing open wounds and soothing irritated eczema flare-ups and itchy skin.

Manuka Biotic® BodyWashContaining manuka oil our Body Wash is antibacterial and anti-inflammatory and can help reduce the bacteria on the skin and help contain the flare-ups.

If you would like to read more detailed information on Eczema on the links below:

  1. Five Things You Can Do To Help Your Child’s Eczema  
  2. Why Use Manuka Oil for Eczema
  3. All Natural Baby Eczema Treatment and Prevention

So, here is a shout out to all those beautiful Mama’s who are on this journey.  You’ve got this!

Read Our Manuka Mum’s Experiences

Hear directly from a few of our lovely Manuka Mum’s sharing their experiences of using our products on their little one’s Eczema. Click on the name below to see their story:

Why Manuka Biotic®?

  1. We use the worlds only certified organic Manuka oil.
  2. All our products contain potent antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory properties to help soothe and repair the skin.
  3. Our products are 100% New Zealand made.
  4. Our products are made using natural ingredients and are FREE from:
    • Parabens
    • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate & SLES
    • PEGs, PABA, EDTA
    • Added fragrances & colouring
    • Petrochemicals
    • Mineral Oils
    • Phenoxyethanol
    • Propylene Glycol
    • Phthalates
    • Animal testing or animal derivatives

Manuka Biotic® is natural skincare for the whole family, giving you access to the potent power of Manuka Oil.

Please read the full ingredient list for any known irritants or allergies. We advise trying ANY new products on a small patch of skin and waiting 24 hours to make sure there is no reaction. Any natural product on the market could contain an ingredient that won’t agree with your skin. You can read how to do this here.

Want to know more?

There’s a lot you can do to relieve symptoms if your little one’s eczema gets worse.  Check out the following websites for further information our join our private Facebook community for helpful support. Remember, your health provider will be able to treat you with assessing and treating your symptoms.

For further information talk to your doctor.

New Zealand Eczema Association New Zealand organisation has an excellent website, with great forums, blogs, education and a support line you can call to help improve the lives of those people living with dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis and a variety of other skin conditions.