From CEO & Inventor at CozeeCoo™
Based on my Success Story
I am not a doctor. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your pediatrician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Why Definitions Matter
When it comes to feeding our babies (breastfeeding and/or formula feeding), our babies' immune systems are getting used to 'the world outside of the womb'. If your baby has persistent skin irritations, they could have an Allergy or Non IgE Allergy, meaning certain ingredients are causing their reactions. Without being tested, these skin irritations are often labeled the diagnosis (and umbrella term), "Eczema". These skin persistent reactions can appear the same. However, knowing the difference matters because once your baby begins directly eating solids, their reactions can be more severe. And in the case of an Allergy, it could be life threatening with Anaphylaxis. The good news is: there are ways to test and determine if your baby has Allergies or Non IgE Allergies. There are also clear game plans for Allergies that can save your baby's life.
Allergies are when the immune system immediately responds with an abnormal reaction against a foreign substance on the outside and/or inside of the body, creating antibodies as a defense. In children and adults this immediate reaction can result in inflammation, swelling, vomiting, breathing difficulties and can even lead to Anaphylaxis depending on the severity of the Allergy and the level of exposure. For babies, however, these immediate antibody reactions can simply result with delayed skin irritations, which can intensify over time. The skin irritations are a delayed response of redness, inflammation and itching (and more severely with weeping & cracking) after being exposed to an Allergy and/or Non-IgE Allergy on the outside and/or inside of the body.
To understand if these persistent skin irritations are Allergies, you can test for the antibodies in an Allergy skin-prick test and/or Allergy blood test with a Pediatric Allergist. If the baby is reacting indirectly through breastmilk, it can take 4-24 hours for the baby to react. If your baby is directly ingesting a food Allergy, a more severe reaction can occur. In these instances, an Epipen could save your baby’s life. Please note that an Epipen will only temporarily help your baby breath so they must still be rushed to the emergency room for full care. Babies can grow out of Allergies by age two and more likely by age Sixteen.
Non IgE Allergies
Non IgE Allergies do not create antibodies and therefore cannot be tested with Allergy skin-prick tests or Allergy blood tests. However, the Non IgE Allergies can be pinpointed through the process of elimination strategy and observing reaction times (see CozeeCoo Blog, 10 Strategic Steps to Pinpointing the Underlying Cause(s) of Baby Skin Irritations, #4). It should be noted that Allergies can also be pinpointed this way, which is why it's best to confirm them through an Allergy skin-prick test or Allergy blood test. Non IgE Allergies cause delayed skin reactions of 2 hours - 3 days later or even longer if exposed through breast milk. *As a personal note so you can be cautious of delayed reactions: my Anthony reacts to directly eating soy 5-6 days later with head to toe red bumps that terribly itch*. When reintroducing foods, I waited 1 week before adding anything new.
Eczema is the name for a group of visible skin conditions that occur because of what researchers currently believe to be a chronic defect in the skin barrier. "Eczema" is currently used as an umbrella term for visual skin irritations and is often applied to both Allergies and Non IgE Allergies. According to Seattle Children's Hospital, cow's milk is the most common "eczema trigger" in babies. While the persistent skin irritations are not dangerous, infections (like staph infection or Eczema Herpeticum (herpes)) that can spread quickly through the skin irritations can be. It's important to pinpoint the underlying cause(s) to persistent skin irritations because overtime the reactions can get more severe especially if the reaction is from an allergy.
I really hope this helps anyone navigating these terms; to understand the difference between possible underlying cause(s). Please ask your doctor how they are defining these terms (not all of our doctors were in agreement with each other's definitions). When in doubt ask questions until you feel confident in the information you're receiving to feel confident in your led game plan for your baby and family. You're not alone. The answers are out there.