Monday, November 10, 2008

Britney Spears Son Has Allergic Reaction to Food

Britney Spears two-year-old son, Jayden, was rushed to the hospital with an allergic reaction yesterday. The tot was admitted for an overnight stay and observation after he developed hives, itchy skin and irritability. A rep for the family reported, “Doctors concluded he had a reaction to something he ingested”. He was released from the hospital in good condition today.

Most of the time, in food related allergic reactions, it is difficult to pinpoint the causative agent without further testing. The most common symptom is a flushed feeling, accompanied by a hive like rash (urticaria), tingling redness of the skin and palpitations and anxiety. Most reactions are self-limited and resolve by themselves or with the addition of anti-histamine medication.

Rarely a serious reaction can cause anaphylaxis and individuals who have asthma in addition to food allergies may be at increased risk for having a life-threatening anaphylactic reaction to food.

Signs of anaphylaxis include skin symptoms or swollen lips accompanied by difficulty breathing or reduced blood pressure. Abdominal cramps or vomiting, accompanied by difficulty breathing or wheezing can be signs of anaphylaxis and the patient should have immediate medical attention. Common causes of anaphylaxis include food, medication, insect stings or latex.

There are eight foods that account for 90% of all food allergy reactions. They are: milk, egg, peanut, tree nut (walnut, cashews etc), fish, shellfish, soy and wheat. True food allergies cause an immune response in the body, which is different than food intolerance. It is estimated that only 2-5% of the population have a food allergy.

Most food allergies begin in the first or second year of life, like in the case of little Jayden Federline. Many children outgrow their allergies (unlike adults), especially allergies to milk or soy formula. The most important diagnostic tool is a good history. What was eaten? What was the timing of the reaction? Did anyone else get sick and how much did the child eat? Skin testing can usually cinch the diagnosis.

Despite the problems Britney Spears has had in her young life, if her son has a food allergy it is not her fault. Getting him to the hospital for treatment and diagnosis was the right thing to do and avoiding the offending food is the treatment going forward.


shadowfax said...

Two pet peeves:

"Rushed to the ER." As an ER doc, I wish there were a constitutional ban on that phrase in journalism. I know, I'm jaded and cynical, but in my book you're not "rushed" in unless there's an ambulance going lights and sirens.

VIP Medicine. It's completely irresponsible for me to speculate, but that's never stopped me before! It's pretty uncommon for a child to require overnight admission for an allergic reaction. Maybe he was really sick, which is highly possible. But I rather suspect that because he was the son of a wealthy and famous (and famously troubled) celebrity, the child was treated differently than the average kid would be. I've seen it before, so it's not a baseless suspicion. Ironically, some cases of VIP medicine are actually inferior to the "standard" care!

Interesting post. Thanks.

ERP said...

Shadowfax, I was going to say the EXACT same thing. I almost never admit anyone with an allergic reaction unless they are in anaphylactic shock or have angioedema. Sounds like an admission for urticaria and anxious parents. Great.

Toni Brayer MD said...

shadowfax and erp; Come-on you guys. Of course the VIPs get special treatment and an overnight stay for urticaria wouldn't happen for "Joe the plumber" or you and me. I agree it's not better medicine...just better service!

I'll be very careful about the term "rushed" again. It might have been a 911 call but we won't know until Britney blogs about it.

Thanks for the comments.

CountryMidwife said...

Brit may have contributed, actually, by not breastfeeding. Just sayin'. said...

Very effective material, thanks so much for this post.