Food Allergy Living Blog Tagged Results


diaper rash

All About Diarrhea

Posted 3.31.11 | Rob McCandlish, RDN


Here at Neocate, we get lots of questions about diapers. I mean lots! Many questions relate to constipation or diarrhea. We’ve posted about constipation in the past, but I thought it would be helpful to pull together our past comments on diarrhea, as well as provide some more medical information on the topic courtesy of the National Institutes of Health, or NIH.

Defining “Diarrhea”

Simply defined, diarrhea is loose, watery stools. It also means having these loose stools three or more times a day. There are more specific guidelines, but most people know diarrhea when they see it. Diarrhea happens to everyone, usually about once a year for adults and twice a year for young children.

Typically, diarrhea is acute, meaning that it lasts one or two days and then goes away. This type of diarrhea is typically caused by an infection. If diarrhea lasts more than two days, it can be something more serious. Diarrhea lasting more than two to four weeks – chronic diarrhea – may be a symptom of a chronic disease or condition.

The concern with diarrhea, especially when it lasts more than two days, is a risk of dehydration. Our bodies absorb most of the water and some minerals at the end of our digestive tract. When we have diarrhea we can’t absorb those things, leading to dehydration, which can be serious.

Diarrhea in Infants

New parents quickly become experts at several things, one of which is changing diapers. Since infants go through about eight diapers a day, parents easily pick up on anything abnormal. Every baby’s stools are different in terms of how watery they are, which makes defining diarrhea in infants difficult. To keep it simple, diarrhea is typically a sudden onset of frequent bowel movements that are more watery than usual.

The risk of dehydration from diarrhea is much higher in children than most adults, and especially in infants. Since infants can’t tell us what they’re feeling, it’s important to keep an eye out for signs of dehydration. With children and infants, you shouldn’t hesitate to call their healthcare provider if you have concerns. For infants under 4 months, the recommendation is that you contact the doctor at the first sign of diarrhea or dehydration.

Diarrhea and Food Allergies

Pulling this all together, diarrhea is one of the top signs of a food allergy, especially for infants. In infants with food allergies, diarrhea often lasts more than just a few days and may even be combined with other symptoms. It’s not uncommon to also see blood or mucus in the stool. Diarrhea can also result from lactose intolerance, which is not as severe as a food allergy, but which may also require a change in diet.

Like we hear from many Neocate parents, diarrhea is often one of the first signs to clear up after they start using Neocate. This is because Neocate doesn’t contain any lactose (or any dairy at all!) or whole proteins. These substances would normally cause a reaction in the body that leads to poor absorption and diarrhea. Infants are able to absorb the nutrients they need from Neocate without the bad reaction that often results in diarrhea. Most parents tell us that the switch to Neocate has meant more solid stools and many fewer diapers.

- Rob

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But Doctor, Is My Baby’s Rash Really JUST a Rash?

Posted 1.18.11 | Rob McCandlish, RDN

Here at Neocate, we often talk with concerned parents who tell us they’ve read other stories from parents whose children had a terrible rash that was only helped by Neocate after lots of trial and error. Frequently, these parents tell us they don’t feel their doctor is familiar with food allergies. Just yesterday a father told me that his pediatrician kept telling him that “every baby gets rashes, it’s normal; he’ll grow out of it.”

Some pediatricians and many parents are surprised to learn that about seven percent of children have food allergies. Many parents who eventually learn that their child has a food allergy, which can only be treated by changing the diet, wish their journey to a solution had been shorter and simpler. Here are some tips for what you can do if you feel your doctor isn’t recognizing your little one’s rash as a possible sign of a food allergy.

Take Careful Notes

A rash is often the first sign of a food allergy that a parent notices. While it’s true that almost all babies experience diaper rash at some point, this is not the same as a rash caused by food allergy. Diaper rash, like many rashes, is caused by something on the outside: wet or rubbing diapers, scented lotion, rough fabrics, or even fabric softener. It’s important to rule out these other causes that might contribute to eczema, atopic dermatitis, or itching.

If you’ve eliminated potential causes, it’s more likely that the rash is caused by something on the inside: a food allergen. If you document all steps you’ve taken to eliminate other culprits, the doctor is more likely to consider a food allergy as the cause of your baby’s rash. If you notice that your baby has a rash and you think it might be related to a food allergy, check to see if your baby exhibits any other signs of a food allergy. It’s unusual for a baby with food allergy to only have a rash. Make a list of your baby’s symptoms which could also be caused by a food allergy to provide to the doctor.

Many parents tell us that they went through multiple different infant formulas before finally finding relief with Neocate. Some infants don’t even tolerate breast milk because of dairy foods in the mom’s diet. Make notes of the different symptoms that did not go away with each formula you’ve tried. Many doctors assume a soy formula or hydrolyzed formula will help if the baby has a milk allergy. However, many babies with a milk allergy also have a soy allergy and can be extremely sensitive to even small amounts of milk protein.

Make an Appointment with Your Baby’s Doctor

When you discuss your baby’s rash with the pediatrician, explain that you think you have ruled out other causes, and explain the list of changes you tried that did not help. Inform the doctor that food allergy is common among infants, and explain the other symptoms your child is experiencing which could be related to food allergy. Skin creams are commonly prescribed for rashes. While these creams may help to reduce inflammation and itching caused by a food allergy, they will not help other allergy symptoms such as diarrhea, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or wheezing. Only a change in the diet will truly solve the problem.

When you see your pediatrician, you may also want to request a referral to an allergist (narrow your search by selecting the “Food Allergy” specialty). The allergy testing that these professionals perform provides the best information to help your child find a diagnosis and relief from a food allergy.

Finally, share with the doctor your knowledge of Neocate, the amino acid-based formula that makes such a difference for babies with food allergies. It’s important to follow the steps to help give your baby’s rash the best chance to heal. We know that it is so hard to see your little one feeling so uncomfortable but remember it may take some time, even after you start using Neocate.

What steps did you take to know that your baby’s rash was caused by food allergy?

- Rob

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Baby Rashes from A to Z (Acne to Eczema!) and When Is It a Milk Allergy?

Posted 4.18.17 | Nutrition Specialist

What new parent hasn’t asked questions like this: “Where did THAT come from?” Or maybe “Why is she suddenly so ITCHY?” Or even “What ARE all of those little bumps on her head?”

Babies drink what we give them (unless they don’t like it!), wear what we put on them (until they take it off!), and tend to stay where we put them (until they go mobile!). If adults are in control and a baby never leaves our sight, we should have answers to these questions. But almost every new parent comes up against a skin condition that they can’t explain.

As newborn babies grow and develop they can experience lots of different skin conditions. Some are typical, whereas others can be hard to explain. In today’s post, we’re going to walk through some of the most common questions and answers related to baby rashes. Food allergies can play a role in some of these conditions, so we’ll point out where that’s the case. 

Acne

Acne is something we associate with teenagers, but it can happen anytime in life. Acne is usually related to hormones, and babies sure do have hormones! Where do babies get hormones, maternal hormones are passed through the womb. Baby acne is harmless and usually goes away within a few weeks.

According to MayoClinic, “Baby acne can occur anywhere on the face, but usually appears on the cheeks, nose and forehead. Baby acne is common — and temporary. There's little you can do to prevent baby acne. Baby acne usually clears up on its own, without scarring.” Read more to learn when to see a doctor about baby acne

Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis – which may also be called atopic eczema, involves scaly and itchy rashes that can be over a small or large part of the body. It can be triggered by allergens in the air (pollen, mold, dust mites, or animals), dry skin, or any number of factors. Severity of symptoms varies from one person to another. There’s an association between atopic dermatitis and food allergies, especially in cases of severe atopic dermatitis. At this time, it’s not clear if one causes the other. For infants, atopic dermatitis and cow milk allergy often are linked.

Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis describes a situation where some substance makes contact with the skin and causes it to become red or inflamed. This could be anything from food to laundry detergent or lotions. Your little one’s healthcare team can help you narrow down the possibilities and make changes to remove whatever’s causing this type of dermatitis. If food is a cause, you’ll need to keep your little one from coming into contact with the food and cosmetics with ingredients from that food. Symptoms and treatments of contact dermatitis.

Diaper Rash

Diaper rash happens when a rash occurs on parts of the skin in contact with diapers. Some causes include having wet diapers on for too long, when the infant has diarrhea, or diapers are too tight. Rash can also be caused by introduction of new products to clean, for example if you are using cloth diapers. Symptoms and treatments of diaper rash.

Eczema

Eczema is a generic term for any dermatitis or skin swelling or itching. It’s often used to describe atopic dermatitis – see above! Read over a story of Morgan and his food allergy related eczema.

Hives

Hives, also called urticarial, are red, itchy bumps on the skin, often caused by an allergic reaction to a food or a drug. Hives can vary in size and can at times connect with one another to create a larger swelling. They often go away within 24 hours, but are still no fun. It’s important to avoid whatever substance or food triggers hives. Symptoms and treatments of hives.

Rash

A rash is a generic term that describes some sort of itchiness or irritation of the skin. Your doctor would be the best resource to look and narrow down what a rash represents and what might be causing it. For little onces, their pediatrician may decide to refer you to an allergist and/or a dermatologist.

When is a Rash a Milk Allergy?

Baby Rash

You should always refer to your pediatrician to help you understand what is causing your little one’s rash, but it’s also important to look at the big picture. Sometimes a baby with a cow milk allergy will also display other symptoms in addition to the rash. For instance, you may also see symptoms of diarrhea, vomiting, gassiness, wheezing, runny nose, and/or colic.

If you do see a rash accompanied by any of these other symptoms, make sure to keep detailed notes and share all symptoms with your little one's doctor so that the healthcare team has all of the information to get to the bottom of what might be happening.

Also, make sure to work with your pediatrician to come up with a plan for taking care of your baby’s skin – no matter what is triggering the rash, it is important to take possible steps to alleviate the rash and any discomfort. Some possible steps your little one's doctor might suggest include:

  • Bathing your baby in soothing lukewarm water
  • Avoiding scented soaps, bath oils, and perfumed powders
  • Applying an over-the-counter moisturizer to your baby’s skin
  • Keeping your baby’s fingernails filed short and smooth to minimize damage from scratching
     
  • Using cotton mittens to help prevent scratching
  • Dressing your baby in soft cotton fabrics to prevent possible fabric irritation
  • Keeping your baby cool and avoiding hot, humid environments
  • Trying to keep your baby distracted from the itchiness with fun activities

We’ve told you what we know about various common skin conditions that you might see on your little one. Keep in mind, there are other conditions that can cause skin rashes, including various infections. Even with this info, you probably still have questions and want answers! The next step is to discuss them further with you little one’s healthcare team. Make sure you plan ahead, take notes and ask the right questions when you see your doctor.

-Rob

Rob McCandlish is a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) who joined the Nutricia team in 2010. Rob has years of experience at Nutricia following food allergy research, working with Neocate products, talking with Neocate families and learning about the science behind Neocate and food allergies. Rob has two nephews who both used Neocate for their cow milk allergies!



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Food Allergy Living is a resource for parents of children with food allergies, brought to you by Nutricia, the makers of Neocate. For more in-depth information about our purpose & authors, see our About Food Allergy Living page.