Warning to all mothers: Baby wipes can “cause food allergy”

Image from Baby Cheramy's Facebook page
  • Baby wipes can cause food allergy
  • Warning was made via new study
  • Researchers suggested that parents should wash off their babies by using mild soap instead of using baby wipes

Scientists have warned parents to avoid using infant wipes but instead use mild soap and wash off their babies to reduce the risk of childhood food allergies.

In a published report by Telegraph it stated that “researchers have hailed a “major advance” in understanding what causes the complaints after tests revealed links between skin damage and intolerance to certain foods.”

Hence, researchers suggest that an increasing failure by parents to rinse away soap after washing their babies is contributing to the rise in food allergies among children.

Based on the findings of the team at Northwestern University, the top layer of skin is made of lipids, types of fat, which can be disrupted by soap and soapy chemicals in wipes.

If a child already carries genes which predisposes them to altered skin absorbency, contact with these chemicals can then heighten risk that comes with exposure to food allergens, the study noted.

Accordingly, the UK recorded some of the highest prevalence of allergic conditions in the world which affected over 20 per cent of people by one more disorder.

Likewise, hospital admissions for anaphylaxis – a potentially fatal allergic reaction – has risen more than 615 per cent in the last 26 years. It was also reported that around eight per cent of British children suffered from a food allergy.

The following reports were quoted from the website of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology:

  • The body’s immune system keeps you healthy by fighting off infections and other dangers to good health. A food allergy reaction occurs when your immune system overreacts to a food or a substance in a food, identifying it as a danger and triggering a protective response.
  • Symptoms of a food allergy can range from mild to severe. Just because an initial reaction causes few problems doesn’t mean that all reactions will be similar; a food that triggered only mild symptoms on one occasion may cause more severe symptoms at another time.
  • The most severe allergic reaction is anaphylaxis — a life-threatening whole-body allergic reaction that can impair your breathing, cause a dramatic drop in your blood pressure and affect your heart rate. Anaphylaxis can come on within minutes of exposure to the trigger food. It can be fatal and must be treated promptly with an injection of epinephrine (adrenaline).

In relation, the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology stated that the “recipe” for childhood food allergies was identified by comparing clinical data with genetic mutations which occur in humans and experiments on neonatal mice involving allergen exposure.

Professor Cook-Mills, who led the research explained that the babies may not be eating food allergens as a newborn, but they are getting them on their skin.

“Say a sibling with peanut butter on her face kisses the baby, or a parent is preparing food with peanuts and then handles the baby. Reduce baby’s skin exposure to the food allergens by washing your hands before handling the baby,” the professor said as he urged parents to limit use of infant wipes that leave soap on the skin further adding that rinsing soap off with water like what is done years ago is more advisable.

Clinical evidence shows more than a third of children with food allergies also suffer from eczema.