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The first food that most parents introduce as the first food to their babies is the humble fruit, banana. Babies love its sweet taste and, moreover, it is an extremely nutritious fruit packed with vitamins and nutrients. However, not all babies can eat bananas as they may have an allergic reaction to them. Let’s find out more about this allergy and how to deal with it.
What is a Banana Allergy?
A banana allergy is an allergy to certain proteins present in bananas. Your baby will have a banana allergy if his immune system is hypersensitive towards a specific protein found in it. If he is allergic to bananas then this means that once he consumes it, his body will attack the food to protect the digestive system by sending out white blood cells. This can provoke an external allergic reaction in your baby. The symptoms of this allergy include a rash, diarrhoea, vomiting, or in severe cases, anaphylaxis. Most parents ask if a banana allergy is common in babies. The answer to this is that it depends on a child’s immune system. However, food allergies are quite common among young children.
Causes of Banana Allergy in Infants
If you see your baby vomiting or having a red rash on his face soon after eating a banana, it may be because of a banana allergy. This might happen due to the below causes:
1. Protein Intolerance
There is a protein found in bananas, which is called ‘chitinase’. Your baby’s immune system may be intolerant to this protein and, hence, become hypersensitive, causing an allergic reaction to bananas.
2. Vasoactive Amines
Bananas contain a substance known as ‘vasoactive amines’. Vasoactive amines are similar to histamines and occur naturally. If your baby’s metabolic system cannot oxidise enzymes, then vasoactive amines may lead to an allergy to bananas in babies.
Symptoms of Banana Allergy in Babies
When you feed your baby mashed banana for the first time, watch out for the following symptoms of banana allergy in him. These symptoms can happen immediately or within a few hours of consuming the fruit.
1. Gastrointestinal Symptoms
A banana allergy causes a baby to vomit due to various gastrointestinal issues. The other symptoms are as follows:
- Loose Bowels
- Stomach ache
2. Respiratory Symptoms
Your baby may have a few problems while breathing if he has a banana allergy, such as –
- Stuffed nose
- A cough
- A runny nose
- Tightness of chest
3. Skin Problems
The most common indication of a banana allergy are the symptoms on the skin, such as
- Itching sensation
- Tongue inflammation
- Swelling on the face
- Red bumps
- Inflammation of the mouth
A banana allergy may also lead to diaper rashes and eczema, so stay alert parents.
How to Deal with Banana Allergy in Babies
As parents, no doubt you will be worried if your baby has a food allergy. But there is no need to panic. Here is how you can deal with it.
1. Follow the 3-Day Wait Rule
Once you introduce banana (or any solid food for that matter) to your baby, wait for at least 3 days to see whether he is showing any signs of an allergy. This will let you know what foods are safe for your baby and the foods that should be avoided. You can also inform your doctor about the foods you are planning to introduce your baby to beforehand so that he can diagnose any allergic reaction more efficiently and with lesser tests.
2. Other Tips to Deal With a Banana Allergy
If your baby is allergic to bananas, here are a few tips that you can follow to combat that allergy.
- If your baby has only a slight allergic reaction to bananas, your doctor will suggest that you feed your baby smaller pieces of banana every time you feed this fruit.
- Instead of introducing bananas, you can start with foods like steamed carrots, as carrots make safe baby food.
- Cooked bananas are much safer than raw bananas, so you can give your baby small pieces of cooked bananas.
- If your baby has a severe allergy towards bananas, make sure that whatever you buy in the grocery has zero traces of banana in it, as it can cause cardiovascular complications or extreme face swelling.
When to Call a Doctor
If you notice any mild symptoms like hives or a rash on your baby’s face, stop feeding him bananas and get in touch with your doctor. If you notice any symptoms of a serious reaction like severe diarrhoea or vomiting, trouble breathing, severe wheezing or swelling of face or lips, call an ambulance immediately and your doctor following that. A baby’s allergic reaction to bananas should not be taken lightly.
Sometimes, a breastfed baby may also develop an allergic reaction to bananas if his mother is allergic to the same. So make sure to keep your own food allergies in mind so that the doctor can better diagnose your baby.