It’s always the same story. For a snack, you give him pieces of milk chocolate in bread. After tasting it, red patches form on his body, his nose is taken… No doubt, your child is certainly having an allergic reaction… but who is the culprit? Dr. Emilie Eyssartier, pediatric surgeon, allergist, and medical director of Biloba (telepediatrics application), supports us in this investigation.
A chocolate allergy, really?
As a reminder, an allergy is an excessive reaction of the immune system to a harmless element in most people. In the case of our chocolate allergy, it is a reaction to a protein contained in cocoa. The latter is considered by the body as an aggressor. However, this allergy is very rare.
Maybe a milk protein allergy…
Therefore, an unusual reaction to chocolate is rarely a sign of a cocoa allergy. Most of the time, other allergens contained in the confectionery, under cover, are implicated. Thus, your child may be allergic to milk proteins, nuts, or even caffeine.
When are we talking about a false chocolate allergy?
Dr. Emilie Eyssartier adds that it is possible that your toddler will have a “false” allergic reaction, which would rather be due to intolerance. Indeed, chocolate is rich in histamine, a molecule involved in many immediate allergic manifestations. However, it happens that some people do not have the enzymes necessary to eliminate it well. This difficulty of the body to degrade this element then leads to symptoms that seem to be allergic, but which are not, since it is not a reaction of the immune system. Most often, those affected suffer from eczema or hives following the ingestion of chocolate. These symptoms will always remain mild.
To detect who is at fault, do not investigate at home, trying to eliminate suspects as the tastings progress. Leave it to the professionals, turning instead to your doctor or allergist, who will do the necessary tests.
Symptoms of chocolate allergy
Like many food allergies, chocolate allergy can trigger digestive reactions such as diarrhea or vomiting. It can also cause rhinitis, eczema, or urticaria. In the most serious cases, it can cause angioedema (a rapid swelling of the skin and mucous membranes in the neck, which can be accompanied by breathing difficulties).
Cocoa allergy: what do we eat?
A person allergic to cocoa must avoid chocolate in all its forms: powder, liquid or solid. However, you can turn to white chocolate that does not contain cocoa butter, since the latter often only has chocolate in name!
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