4 Things Parents Need To Know About Balsam Of Peru Allergies

Balsam of Peru is a resin produced by Myroxylon, a flowering tree that grows in Central and South America. This resin is used for a wide variety of applications, but for people who are allergic to it, this is a big problem. Here are four things parents need to know about Balsam of Peru allergies.

1. What is Balsam of Peru used for?

Balsam of Peru has many uses, so avoiding it can be difficult. As a fragrance, it can be found in lotions, shampoos, perfumes, and other personal products. As a flavoring, it can be found in sauces, pickled foods, baked goods, soft drinks, and spices. It is also used as an ingredient in some medications, like cough medicines. Balsam of Peru is called multiple names, so it can be hard to identify it on an ingredients list. In personal products like shampoos, it's labelled as myroxylon pereirae, which is the Latin name for the tree the resin comes from. In foods and medicines, it may be called one of these names:

  • Balsam fir oleoresin;
  • Balsam Peru oil;
  • Balsam of Tolu;
  • China oil;
  • Cinnamein;
  • Hyperabsolute balsam;
  • Surinam balsam.

2. What type of reaction does it cause?

Children who are allergic to Balsam of Peru may develop a skin reaction after coming into contact with it. You will notice that your child has red, itchy skin as well as hives or fluid-filled blisters. If the allergen is ingested, your child's lips or other oral tissues may swell up. If you think that your child has allergies, take them to a pediatrician to identify the cause.

3. How is this allergy diagnosed?

Balsam of Peru allergies are diagnosed in the same way as other allergies. For diagnosis, your child will be referred to an allergist. The allergist will then perform a patch test to confirm the allergy. This test is both simple and painless, so reassure your child that it's nothing to worry about.

The allergist will apply the allergen to a patch and then place the patch on your child's skin. Your child will wear the patches for the next 48 hours. Once 48 hours have passed, you'll return to the allergist. The allergist will remove the patches and look at the skin underneath. If the skin beneath the patch is red and irritated, it may mean that your child has a Balsam of Peru allergy.

4. Can Balsam of Peru allergies be treated?

These allergies are treated by avoiding Balsam of Peru. Your child's pediatrician can help you identify foods and other products that you should keep away from your child. Since completely avoiding such a widespread allergen is very difficult, medications may be required to deal with accidental exposures. For example, your child may be given a prescription for corticosteroid cream to deal with skin reactions or antihistamines to deal with oral reactions. 

If you think your child may be allergic to Balsam of Peru, take them to a pediatrician like Willow Oak Pediatrics  right away.