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treatment of peanut allergy and anaphylaxis

Update on treating peanut allergy and peanut anaphylaxis

Peanut allergy and life-threatening anaphylaxis is most common in infants and young children, but can also appear for the first time in adults. A recent Australian study has shown that peanut allergy affects 3% of children under 1 year of age. Peanut exposure may be hard to avoid, where even trace amounts can trigger symptoms. Generally, severity may lessen with age, but there have been around 20% of cases that showed allergies becoming worse with time.

Peanut allergy trials in Australia

Murdoch Children’s Research Institute

Professor Mimi Tang from the Murdoch Children’s Research institute, has developed a possible treatment for children allergic to peanuts. Participants in the trail were given a probiotic called lactobacillus rhamnosus with a peanut protein, every day for 18 months. After about a month, results showed that more than 80% of children who received this treatment could tolerate peanuts without allergic reactions. The test was repeated using the same children, 4 years later. Professor Mimi Tang presented results showing that 70% of the children were still able to tolerate peanuts without severe allergy symptoms.

Further safety information is needed for this treatment to be made available, however in this small group these findings showed that treatment is effective for long term tolerance for up to 4 years without serious reactions. It was also shown that more than half of the children were consuming large amounts of food containing peanuts, regularly. 

What is Lactobacillus rhamnosus probiotic?

The Lactobacillus rhamnosus probiotic, commonly found in small doses in yoghurt, calms the immune system’s response to allergens it would normally react to, reducing the severity of allergic reactions. This bacterium encourages the immune system to generate a tolerant response rather than an allergic reaction.

Professor Tang and her team reported that larger studies of this treatment were needed to assess long-term safety outcomes and to see whether children can overcome peanut allergies by taking the probiotic alone, or whether the peanut protein is needed.

Monash University & Aravax

Another trial was conducted by a Melbourne-based company called Aravax, testing an immunotherapy product called PVX108 to treat peanut allergy. This product is a result 15 years scientific research led by Professor Robyn O’Hehir and her team at Monash University.

PVX108 uses parts of peanut proteins to switch off allergic reactions to peanuts. The product is said to be relatively safe because the protein fragments do not contain the parts of the peanut proteins that can cause life-threatening anaphylactic reactions.

The double-blinded and placebo controlled clinical trials that commenced in Melbourne in 2017 and will assess the safety of PVX108.

Treatment of Peanut Allergy

Currently there is no treatment for peanut allergy, but researchers continue to perform trials in Australia and the US. In the meantime, management involves taking steps to avoid exposing your child to peanuts and foods which may contain peanuts and traces of peanuts such as certain ice creams, cereals and granola, grain breads, biscuits and pastry.

Make sure you know what to do if a severe reaction occurs. Always keep your child’s EpiPen on hand as it can immediately reduce the severity of an anaphylactic reaction. Speak to your doctor or pharmacist on the correct method of using this device and become familiar with the steps so if an emergency arises, you are prepared. It is also important that at school there is a food allergy management plan and staff are able to use an Epipen in case of emergency.

It is also important to note that under no circumstances should you try to treat your child’s peanut allergy at home. These trials still need more safety information and when and if they become available treatment will be conducted in a hospital setting.

This blog post was brought to you and your family with love from Julia and the itchy baby co. team x.

Disclaimer: Information provided is of a general nature only, and you should always consult your medical professional.



eczema and the gut

How does gut health affect eczema?

The gastrointestinal system, or the gut does more than absorb nutrients from our food. This system of digestive organs, which includes the mouth, oesophagus, stomach, rectum, small and large intestine, as well as the liver, pancreas and gallbladder, makes up 70% of your body’s immune system.

The important role of the gastrointestinal system is to act as a communication centre to and from the brain to fight against diseases. When the system is working well, it acts as a barrier to allow nutrients to pass but still protect against foreign pathogens. That is why the health of your child’s gut is so important as it could affect their overall immune system which is said to be linked to eczema.

Is eczema linked to gut bacteria?

Scientists from the University of Turku, Finland have discovered that kids who have eczema have a lot more bacteria in their guts than kids who not have this skin condition. They observed children with and without eczema to compare gut bacteria, and results showed that infants at 18 months who have eczema, had different amounts of bacteria, than those without eczema.

What food to eat and what to avoid for a healthy eczema gut?

The microorganisms living in the gut contain a huge number of good and bad bacteria. It is very important to keep the good bacteria in balance so the gut can work well.  Certain foods such as sugary, junk food, processed foods and also medications such as antibiotics and topical steroid creams can have a negative effect on the balance of your child’s gut bacteria so be mindful of your child’s diet as gut inflammation may trigger eczema flare ups.

Common foods that can help with eczema are fatty fish, yoghurt, soft cheeses, fruits and vegetables packed with antioxidants such as strawberries, rock melon and kiwi. Foods containing quercetin such as broccoli, kale, apples and cherries are also good for your eczema child because they have natural anti-inflammatory and anti-histamine properties.

How does gut inflammation trigger eczema?

When your child’s body has too much bad bacteria, inflammation happens and this results in a fever. Inflammation is good for getting rid of harmful bacteria but too much inflammation can weaken the walls of your child’s gut lining and create holes which we call a ‘leaky’ gut. Bad bacteria can then enter these holes and into blood stream, causing infections. Our skin is the body’s largest elimination organ which means when the bacteria is being wiped out an eczema flare up can happen.

What are the symptoms of a leaky gut?

Not everyone will have the same symptoms so it is important to keep an eye out for how your child reacts to certain foods, especially processed or sugary. Some of the common symptoms are:

  • Gas and bloating
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Stomach aches especially after eating
  • Skin rashes
  • Inflammatory bowel disease

Can probiotics help with gut health and eczema?

Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts which can help with gut-related problems. Probiotic supplements are usually given in powder form to children, by mixing with food. They are being considered more and more for children with eczema and allergies as they can help build a strong and healthy immune system that can better withstand eczema triggers and allergies.

The most well-known probiotic rich food is yogurt which contains live cultures. Other fermented foods like sauerkraut, miso, sourdough bread and soft cheeses also contain probiotics.

This blog post was brought to you and your family with love from Julia and the itchy baby co. team x.

Disclaimer: Information provided is of a general nature only, and you should always consult your medical professional.


dairy products and eczema

Can dairy products and dairy proteins cause eczema?

If your child has an allergy to dairy products, this can be a food-related trigger for eczema symptoms. Food allergies happen when the body’s immune system responds abnormally to certain foods. In children who have eczema, this abnormal reaction can mean a flare up of their eczema symptoms, but this does not mean that by avoiding dairy products they will no longer have eczema.

According to the Australasian society of Clinical immunology and allergy (ASCIA)  about 1 in 50 Australian and New Zealand infants (approximately 2%) are allergic to cow’s milk and other dairy products

What is cow’s milk protein allergy (CMPA)?

Most people who are allergic to cow’s milk will be told they have cow’s milk protein allergy (CMPA) and will also be allergic to other animal milks such as goat’s milk and sheep’s milk and products that are made from these milks. This is because the proteins which are in cow’s milk can be the same proteins in other animal milks.

For these people with dairy allergy (CMPA) it is really important to read all labelling carefully to avoid cow’s milk, other animal milks and products made from these, unless advised otherwise by your doctor.

Is eczema directly linked to dairy intolerance?

Children who are known to be intolerant to dairy products are more likely to have eczema and other allergies such as asthma or hay fever. Dairy intolerance is not necessarily directly linked with eczema but both are more likely to occur in children with allergies. This could be because people with eczema are said to have an abnormally responsive immune system. Although dairy can be a trigger for eczema, removing it from your child’s diet may carry nutritional risks so speak with your doctor to make sure your child will continue to meet their nutritional requirements.

How do I know if my child has a dairy allergy?

If your child has eczema there is a higher chance they also have food allergies. Speak to your doctor about the best way to assess your child for food allergies and managing their food allergies.

How can I manage my child’s eczema if they have a dairy allergy?

It is essential to stick to your child’s eczema skin care maintenance routine to best manage your child’s eczema. Our itchy baby co. natural oatmeal bath soak and natural oatmeal bath soak with marshmallow root do not contain dairy proteins. Our moisturiser, scalp oil and face mask also do not contain dairy proteins.

Although animal milks for those who are not allergic can have a moisturising, nourishing and hydrating effect on the skin, if your child is allergic to dairy avoid using cows milk and other animal milks and read labelling carefully.

All parents of children who have allergies should see their doctor to discuss their individual allergy action plan  so you know what to do if your child has a reaction and how best to try to avoid it.

This blog post was brought to you and your family with love from Julia and the itchy baby co. team x.

Disclaimer: Information provided is of a general nature only, and you should always consult your medical professional.

there is a relationship between lupin and peanut allergy

What is the connection between lupin and peanut allergy? 

Food allergies to a variety of foods are common in children with eczema and because of its close relation to peanuts, lupin is also starting to be thought of as a food allergen. Food allergies happen when the immune system responds abnormally to naturally occurring proteins in food. Eczema and food allergies are two separate conditions but there is a relationship. Having eczema increases the chances of your child experiencing food sensitivities and developing food intolerances and allergies. This could be because people with eczema suffer from a highly sensitive and over responsive immune system. The most common food allergies which are less likely to be outgrown and be lifelong allergies are peanuts, tree nuts, seeds and seafood.

What is peanut allergy? 

Peanuts are legumes, like peas, they are not nuts, because the proteins in peanuts are very different to those in tree nuts (such as almonds, walnuts, cashews and hazelnut). Peanut allergy is a common allergy among children and is usually life-long once acquiredIt can develop as early as 4 months of age. Twenty-three percent of infants less than one year old who have eczema are also allergic to peanuts. 

What is lupin and what is the potential co-reaction with peanut allergy? 

Lupine (or Lupin) bean is a legume related to peanuts and soybeans as it is in the same botanical family, Fabaceae. It can be ground into a flour, and this flour has started to be widely used in Australia for baking, biscuits, pasta and sauces. Lupin allergy is reported in people who also have peanut allergies as both the beans and the flour made from the legumes are known to cause reactions in about 20% of individuals who have an allergy to peanuts.

A study conducted among 47 children with peanut allergy in the United Kingdom found that 16 had positive skin or blood tests to lupine.  

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) is currently working on a proposal which is considering the mandatory requirement of allergen labelling for lupin because although the ingredient is labelled on packages, consumers may not be aware that lupine is a legume that belongs to the same plant family as peanut.  

How common is lupin food allergy? 

There is no evidence that Lupin is a more potent an allergen than other foods. The range of severity of reaction to Lupin is similar to other food allergens. The prevalence of Lupin food allergy is hard to set because there are not many studies in Australia, but it seems to be low in the general population. In South Australia, there were 8 cases of acute Lupin allergy between 2004 and 2009. 

 How do I know if my child has a food allergy to lupin or other food proteins? 

Talking to your doctor about allergy testing is an important conversation to have if your child has been diagnosed with eczema. Skin prick tests or allergy blood tests can help to identify food allergies.

This blog post was brought to you and your family with love from Julia and the itchy baby co. team x.

Disclaimer: Information provided is of a general nature only, and you should always consult your medical professional.


What foods can help eczema?

Eczema and food have a sometimes confusing and complicated relationship. Foods do not cause eczema, but sometimes might trigger an eczema flare up and once confirmed by your doctor should be avoided. Other foods however might improve your child’s eczema symptoms. Encouraging an eczema friendly diet for your child might help with your overall eczema management. Remember that foods which are thought to be eczema friendly should not be eaten by people who are allergic to them and always speak to your doctor before deciding on any significant changes to your child’s diet.

Read more

link between zinc and eczema

What is the link between Zinc and Eczema?

Children with eczema often have low levels of vitamins and minerals which are important in maintaining a healthy immune system, especially vitamins and minerals which are needed to keep the skin healthy and functioning well. Low levels of zinc are related to Vitamin A and Vitamin D deficiencies, which are also common in children who have eczema. These vitamins control the amount of zinc which is circulating in the body.

Read more

probiotics and eczema

Can probiotics help eczema?

Eczema and probiotics – an update

It has been a little while since I wrote about the benefits that probiotics can have on eczema management and in that time the evidence in favour of giving your child a probiotic as part of your eczema management is piling up. Looking at the evidence it appears that if you are not already supplementing your child’s diet with a probiotic, now is a good time to start.

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link between vitamin D and eczema

what is the link between vitamin D and eczema?

We talk a lot about eczema and diet, what foods trigger eczema flare ups and food allergies with eczema. We talk about the importance of our bath time routine and getting the most amount of moisture into the skin. What we don’t talk so much about are the vitamins, or lack of, which can affect eczema in our little ones. With eczema the immune system and skin barrier don’t work properly and some studies have found that people with eczema are more likely to have lower vitamin D levels.

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eczema and food allergies

eczema and food allergies – is there a connection

I will try anything to help my little one’s eczema, but being a pharmacist, there has to be some evidence that it can be effective. One of the common things we talk about with eczema are food allergies.

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Can probiotics help eczema

Can probiotics help eczema?

Managing our little ones’ eczema and reducing eczema flare ups is more often than not a process of trying a range of different things which may or may not make a difference. Things we often try include changing our washing detergent, being picky about the fabrics their clothes are made from, excluding certain foods from their diet, anything which we hope can bring them some relief. And for many of us finding out if probiotics can help manage eczema and reduce flare ups is worth a try.

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