Infants with eczema are much more likely to develop a food allergy than infants who do not have the condition. Egg allergy is one of the most common food allergies in children.
Researchers took infants with eczema and divided them into two groups. One group began eating egg powder at 4 months of age; the other group began eating rice powder at 4 months of age. Both groups began eating cooked eggs at age 8 months. Most of the infants with egg allergy in the egg powder group had symptoms within days of first being exposed to the egg powder (at age 4 months).
By age 12 months, it was found that in the group that was exposed to egg earlier, 1/3 of the infants had egg allergy. In the group that was exposed to egg later, 51% had developed egg allergy.
These results show that care should be taken with food introductions in infants with eczema. Some may already be sensitized by age 4 months; and it appears that earlier food introductions may help reduce the risk of developing food allergies.
Research into this area is still continuing, and hopefully guidelines will be established to help families determine when it is best to introduce foods to an infant with eczema.