Anaphylaxis symptoms in most infants appear to resolve with a single dose of epinephrine

Children's Health

Although many parents of infants worry about their child having a food allergy, there has not been a lot of research into the presentation of anaphylaxis in infants. A new study being presented at this year’s American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) Annual Scientific Meeting in Louisville, KY shows that, in infants aged 0-24 months who presented to the emergency department for anaphylaxis, few required hospitalization and most were able to go home after a few hours of observation.

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%).”

Colleen Shannon, MD, MPH, ACAAI member and lead author of the study

146 patients (86.4%) received epinephrine, with 51 (30.1%) receiving it prior to arrival at the hospital and 16 (9.5%) requiring more than one dose. 17 infant patients (10.1%) were admitted to the hospital, but none required intensive care.

“It’s important that infants, just like older children and adults, need quick and accurate diagnosis to make sure their anaphylaxis is treated appropriately,” said allergist Juhee Lee, MD, senior author on the study. “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 your child has a severe allergic reaction to a food, see an allergist for diagnosis and management, including a prescription for an epinephrine auto injector. And avoid that food in the future. Anyone with a food allergy should be under the care of an allergist. An allergist can create a plan to help patients identify their food allergens and avoid triggers.

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