Contact dermatitis is the most common type of allergic reaction a baby will develop from cinnamon. This allergic reaction is topical and develops on the skin shortly after the skin has come into direct contact with it. Babies don’t typically eat large quantities of cinnamon, making it an unlikely food allergy. If you give your baby a food product that contains cinnamon that causes common food allergy symptoms, call your doctor immediately for evaluation. Heavy exposure to cinnamon can cause skin irritation or an allergic reaction.
Pediatric Food Allergies
Food allergies are common among babies and young children. Most kids outgrow a food allergy by the time they turn 3. Cinnamon is not considered a common food allergy, but has the potential to still cause an allergic reaction. If your baby is allergic to cinnamon, her body’s immune system doesn’t recognize the substance as safe and begins to fight against it to defend the body. The immune system creates antibodies that ward off the cinnamon, resulting in the production of histamine, which cause irritation and inflammation throughout the body.
Contact Allergic Dermatitis
After your baby’s skin comes into direct contact with cinnamon, he may develop irritation, swelling and redness around the affected area. Contact allergic dermatitis typically forms within minutes of exposing the skin to the allergen. The allergic skin reaction is not harmful and may be treated by washing the baby’s skin with soap and water. If the rash is bothersome, apply a small amount of hydrocortisone to the skin to reduce swelling and itching.
If your baby is allergic to cinnamon, classified as a food allergy, other symptoms may form, aside from skin reactions. You may notice that your baby becomes fussy, inconsolable and agitated after eating cinnamon. Diarrhea, vomiting and stomach cramping may develop after the baby has ingested cinnamon. Asthma, shortness of breath, nasal congestion and wheezing are all signs of a food allergy. If your baby appears lethargic and flushed in the skin, call 911 for emergency medical attention.
Testing and Treatment
If your baby’s doctor suspects that he is allergic to cinnamon, she may want to perform a skin patch test. During this test the pediatrician takes a small patch with cinnamon on it and places it on your baby’s skin for 20 to 30 minutes. When the patch is removed, if the skin is normal, your baby is most likely not allergic to the substance. If the baby is allergic to cinnamon, your doctor will recommend avoidance and elimination from the diet.