What is my child allergic to ?

One of the first questions a parent asks when they bring their child for a consultation is: “What is my child allergic to?” The concerned parents have often changed many things: they stopped giving milk, they put the cat outside etc, but the child continues to have eczema that needs a daily treatment. These parents want to know why their child is allergic and to what?

The first thing to explain to the parents is that eczema is not an allergic reaction to some specific allergen. Children who have eczema have a genetic disposition which is called an allergic terrain. Eczema is an allergic manifestation like any other but it does not have one specific trigger factor.

Dr. Jean-Philippe Lacour

 Experts AdviseExpertsAdvise.html

One of the things that disturbs many parents is when a paediatrician, for example, tells them to stop giving cow’s milk as the eczema appears to have started at the moment when cow’s milk was introduced into the baby’s diet after weaning. There is no real justification for stopping cow’s milk, however, as very few babies with eczema are allergic to this milk.

Why, then is there this confusion between eczema and food allergy. Well, the reason is that a child who has an allergic disposition or terrain, could just as easily have a food allergy as eczema, as they could have hay fever or asthma later on. It just so happens that food allergies tend to appear at an early age, as does eczema. The two manifestations appear, then, at roughly the same time and so tend to be grouped together as the same disease. A child, however, could have eczema without any food allergies or could have food allergies without eczema, or indeed they could have both.

English Version