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.
Posted by Toni Brayer, MD at 11:06 PM