The Itch Factor

The Food-Allergy Connection

While many dermatologists are skeptical that certain foods can cause eczema, research by Parents advisor Hugh Sampson, MD, has found that about one third of kids with moderate to severe eczema have a food allergy that may trigger flare-ups. Eggs are the most common culprit. Other offenders: milk, peanuts, wheat, and soy. "Some kids are so sensitive that touching the hand of another person who recently ate peanut butter can cause a local reaction," says Dr. Sampson, chief of pediatric allergy and immunology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, in New York City. If your child has moderate to severe eczema, allergy skin tests can help pinpoint whether any of these foods are the problem. Just remember that although many kids with food allergies also have eczema (one study found that about 83 percent of infants with severe eczema had food sensitivities), making dietary changes won't improve skin symptoms for about two-thirds of kids.

Copyright © 2007. Used with permission from the October 2007 issue of Parents magazine.

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