If your baby is at an age and stage where you’re thinking of starting solids, now might be a good time - while we’re in lockdown or semi-lockdown, depending on which part of NZ you live in. The roads are clearer than usual (I was able to turn right out of our street without having to wait for 50 cars - first time in years!) so if you were to need an ambulance for an allergic reaction, their response time is likely to be better than usual.
Signs of an allergic reaction? Hives (red welty itchy skin) would be a likely early sign. This alone does not indicate a severe allergic reaction. Swelling around the face is getting more serious - puffy eyes, puffy lips, swollen tongue. This on its own is still not considered a really serious allergic reaction, but if I saw facial swelling in a baby who was trying solids, I’d be seriously considering phoning 111, just in case things got worse quickly.
Itchiness is common with anaphylaxis. A friend of mine who is majorly allergic to eggs says the inside of her mouth and throat get really itchy. So if your child with a puffy face seems to be doing anything which could suggest an itchy mouth (scrabbling at her mouth: looking as if she wants to get her hands in her mouth and scratch, scratching her neck) I’d definitely be phoning 111. And any sign of dodgy breathing - wheezing, coughing, throat-clearing… help needs to be on its way and fast.
Having said all that, I hate the idea of parents being scared to try their babies on new foods. Although a lot of us have allergies (I’m very mildly allergic to cats, but so mildly that we still love our two cats), not so many people have really serious allergies. So don’t freak out about the likelihood of your child having major allergies. Under 2% of children are allergic to peanuts. Which means that over 98% of children are NOT allergic to peanuts. Hope that makes you feel better!
More on allergies coming up...