There is little research into how anaphylaxis affects infants. A study presented at this year’s ACAAI Annual Meeting in Louisville, KY sought to provide more insight.
The researchers analyzed the medical records of 169 infants aged 0-24 months who presented to the emergency department with anaphylaxis.
Said Colleen Shannon, MD, MPH, the lead author of the study:
We reviewed charts for 169 patients under the age of 2 who presented with anaphylaxis and found that symptoms were reported in the skin/mucosal (97.6%), gastrointestinal (74.6%), respiratory (56.8%) and cardiovascular (34.3%) systems. Almost all episodes were triggered by food, especially egg (26.6%), peanut (25.4%) milk (13.6%) and cashew (10.1%).
146 of those patients (86.4%) received epinephrine, with 51 (30.1%) receiving the drug prior to arrival at the hospital and 16 (9.5%) requiring more than one dose. Epinephrine is the only drug that can halt and reverse the progression of anaphylaxis, a serious, life-threatening reaction to a food, drug, insect venom, or environmental substance. The sooner it is administered, the better the outcome.
Additionally, 17 patients (10.1%) were admitted to the hospital, but none required intensive care.
Said Juhee Lee, MD, senior author of the study:
It’s important that infants, just like older children and adults, need quick and accurate diagnosis to make sure their anaphylaxis is treated appropriately. Fortunately, most cases of anaphylaxis in infants seem to resolve with a single dose of epinephrine. The vast majority were able to go home from the emergency department without further intervention.
If you suspect your child may have a food allergy, we urge you to seek a proper medical evaluation from an allergist.