Applesauce and Allergic Reaction in Babies

Applesauce is easy, inexpensive and a favorite first fruit for many babies. As with any new food you introduce to your baby, he might exhibit an allergic reaction. Babies allergic to applesauce have a pollen allergy rather than a food allergy and typically display oral symptoms. Before starting solid foods, understand how to introduce new foods to your baby, the signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction and what to do if one occurs in your child.

A baby spoon filled with applesauce. (Image: etienne voss/iStock/Getty Images)

Allergies Described

With an allergy, your baby's immune system has an atypical reaction to a food and produces antibodies that lead to allergic symptoms. Symptoms can be mild or life threatening. The first time your baby eats applesauce, he might not have a reaction, but that first taste readies his body for a reaction the next time. When trying out applesauce with your baby, don't give it with another first food and feed it to him for a few days before introducing other foods.

Oral Allergy Syndrome

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln states that apples are one of the most prevalent and best described fruit allergies. An allergic reaction to apples is referred to as oral allergy syndrome, because symptoms include itching and swelling in the mouth, lips and throat, watery eyes, runny nose and sneezing. Other symptoms include asthma, skin reaction, rhinitis and, in severe cases, anaphylaxis, which requires immediate medical attention. Most food allergies develop early in life, but can occur at any age. The more frequently you eat a specific food, the greater your chance of developing an allergy to it.

Allergy Offenders in Apples

Your baby's reaction to applesauce varies dependent upon the allergens involved. It might not be a food allergy, but a pollen allergy, in which his body mistakes food proteins for pollen proteins. The most common offenders are birch pollen in the spring and summer and ragweed pollen in the fall. When applesauce is heated, the allergen-causing proteins are broken down. Cooked apples are less likely to cause this reaction than raw apples. Applesauce is typically heated to soften the apples so a baby with a raw apple allergy may not have an applesauce allergy. Buy all-natural applesauce to verify that he's allergic to the apples rather than another ingredient.

Allergy Plan of Action

If your baby is allergic to applesauce, he may exhibit symptoms immediately or a couple hours after eating it. If it's a mild reaction, speak with your doctor. Your doctor may opt to do a food allergy test to verify applesauce is the offender. If your baby tests positive, learn which foods to avoid and determine a plan of action because his symptoms may be more severe after subsequent times. A severe anaphylactic reaction causes a swollen tongue and mouth and difficulty breathing. In this situation, call 911 or get your baby to the emergency room.

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