What a difference a decade makes. Back in the day, parents of babies with eczema were advised of the food allergy march: itchy, angry skin, leading to food allergies and to asthma. I remember our doctor saying "eczema is linked to egg allergy". As a result, we were advised to told to postpone highly allergenic foods, such as eggs, milk and nuts, for several years.
So we did, and as later skin and blood tests confirmed those food allergies, avoidance, we were told, was key.
In a recent Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology , Australian researchers pointed to a genetic link between allergies and eczema. The study, by Murdoch Childrens Research Institute in Melbourne, found that babies with changes to the filaggrin gene had a higher chance of a positive skin prick test to egg allergy.
Now here's the interesting part, those babies with the changed fillagrin gene and the positive skin test to egg allergy who were then given egg at an early age, had a decreased risk for developing a "ful-blown" egg allergy. Delaying the introduction of egg (which many of us were told to do) actually increased the risk of egg allergy.
It seems that there may be a skin sensitivity to food proteins, but not necessarily a gut sensitivity. Many doctors are now suggesting early introduction of egg, milk and other typical food allergens in order to develop tolerance.
What's a parent to do? Talk to your doctor. Make sure they are up on the latest research- this is new information. If your baby has eczema or you are concerned about food allergy, see an allergist sooner, rather than later.