Kids Can Get Food Allergies From Donated Blood

The case of an 8-year-old Canadian boy suggests that it’s possible, but rare, for children to get food allergies from blood transfusions.

The boy developed an allergy to fish and peanuts after receiving a transfusion from a donor with severe allergies to these foods, reports a team led by Dr. Julia Upton, of The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

He was treated promptly for the allergic reactions, and the allergies went away on their own within a few months, the researchers noted.

According to Upton’s team, blood donors with food allergies can transfer an allergy-triggering antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE) in blood products such as platelets. Parents and doctors need to be aware of the possibility in case children who have received blood products suddenly develop allergies to foods they could safely eat before.

However, “people shouldn’t be overly concerned about passive transfer of allergy from blood products,” Upton stressed in a journal news release. “This condition has an excellent prognosis and typically resolves within a few months.”

Dr. Sherry Fazan is an allergist and immunologist at North Shore-LIJ Health System in Great Neck, N.Y. She said that “over time, since [the boy’s] own immune system did not replenish the food-specific IgE, he ‘outgrew’ the allergy.”

According to Upton, when a child does develop food allergies after a transfusion, doctors should follow up within a few months to determine when to reintroduce the allergy-causing foods to the child, the researchers said.

It’s also important for doctors to report all cases of food allergies associated with transfusions so that health officials can investigate the cause and ensure the safety of the blood supply, she said.

Credit: HealthDay, Robert Preidt

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