- FPIES stands for Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome.
- FPIES is a delayed type of allergic reaction that happens after eating a certain food. Trigger foods cause parts of the intestines to swell and get irritated.
- Common FPIES symptoms include throwing up, diarrhea, stomach pain, becoming pale and very tired (lethargic).
- Reactions can range from mild to life-threatening. Children with FPIES can dehydrate quickly and may go into shock.
- Most reactions start 2 to 3 hours after eating a trigger food. A child can react up to 8 hours after eating the food.
- Most times children have only one trigger food. However, it’s not uncommon to react to more than one trigger food with FPIES.
- Milk, soy, and rice are common triggers. Some less common triggers are oats, barley, beef, chicken, turkey, sweet potato, squash, peas, and lentils. Any food can be a trigger.
- Avoid eating trigger foods. Some infants might need special formula.
- Breastfeeding mothers should not avoid an infants trigger foods unless the infant has had a past reaction to the food in breast milk.
- There are no blood or skin tests for FPIES. A food challenge helps find out if your child has FPIES to a food. It can also help find out if he or she has outgrown FPIES.
- Food challenges happen in a clinic or hospital while an allergist or nurse is with you.
- Most children outgrow FPIES around age 2-3 years old. FPIES in adults is very rare.
- A written plan for your child’s FPIES can be helpful for people treating your child in an emergency.
- FPIES can be mistaken for severe infections (sepsis), food poisoning, anaphylaxis, or stomach problems needing surgery.
- In FPIES, the body loses fluids and may become very dehydrated. This can lead to shock. Shock is a life-threatening medical emergency.
- Shock happens when the body cannot get enough blood and oxygen to its brain and other organs.
- Symptoms of shock include:
– Cool, pale, clammy skin
– Getting weak, dizzy, or confused
– Being fearful or restless
– Fast, weak pulse
– Quick, shallow breathing
– Less urine or darker urine
– Low blood pressure
- If your child has eaten a trigger food consider getting emergency help even before a reaction starts.
- Children can get very sick very quickly and need emergency help.
- If you think your child is in shock, call 911 or get emergency help right away.
FPIES or ANAPHYLAXIS
FPIES and anaphylaxis are different kinds of allergies. Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that can cause death within minutes unless treated right away.
FPIES is more delayed but can be just as life-threatening.
Rarely children with FPIES may also have symptoms of anaphylaxis, or may start having anaphylaxis to trigger foods. Allergists often do tests to check for anaphylaxis to trigger foods before a child tries them again.