This site is intended for healthcare professionals only

Managing food allergy and food intolerance in infants

Written by: | Published:

Between 5- 6 per cent of young children in the UK suffer from a food allergy, which appear to be becoming increasingly common.1

Most serious food allergies start in infancy and early childhood and are usually caused by a relatively small number of foods. Though we tend to consider peanut allergy the most common, it is often foods such as milk and egg to which most infants and young children react.

Food allergy symptoms can vary from immediate IgE mediated reactions such as urticaria, angioedema, vomiting, wheezing, swelling of the lips and mouth, through to anaphylaxis, an extreme and severe allergic reaction that affects the whole body often within minutes of exposure to the causative substance.

Thankfully, anaphylaxis is rare in infants. More commonly, we are seeing delayed non-IgE mediated allergic reactions such as eczema, reflux, colic, diarrhoea, and faltering growth in babies, which can be more difficult to identify as an allergy due to the delay in symptoms,.

The main food intolerance that affects babies and young children is lactose intolerance. The enzyme, lactase, is needed to break down the milk sugar lactose in the gut and this is sometimes missing in some babies.

Missing lactase can also result from a stomach bug and in this case will usually resolve after a period of avoiding lactose. Symptoms of lactose intolerance include diarrhoea, abdominal pain, and vomiting.

Please login or register to read the rest of the article and to have access to downloads and comments.

What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet your views to @IndyNurseMag

This material is protected by MA Healthcare Ltd copyright.
See Terms and Conditions.

Most read articles from Practice Nursing Journal

Practice Nursing Journal latest issue and most read articles.

Click here to read a selection of free to access articles from Practice Nursing Journal


Sign up to the newsletter


Independent Nurse is the professional resource for primary care and community nurses, providing clinical articles for practice nurses and prescribers.


Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date with the latest nursing news.

Stay Connected

Stay social with Independent Nurse by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook or connecting on LinkedIn.


Need access to some of our older articles? You can view our archive, or alternatively contact us.

Contact Us

MA Healthcare Ltd.
St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road
London, SE24 0PB

Tel: +44 (0)20 7738 5454
Registered in England and Wales No. 01878373

Meet the team


Find out how to contribute to Independent Nurse here.