Food Allergy Testing For Kids

Food Allergy | Physician OneOver the past 20 years, the number of kids with diagnosed food allergies has increased by nearly 50 percent. While scientists point toward a number of theories, no one knows the exact reasons. Unfortunately, many food allergies come on without warning. That said, you can better prepare and cope with an unexpected reaction by understanding a few key points.
What are the most common food allergies?
Until a child reaches the age of 5 or 6, wheat, egg, cow’s milk and soy are the most common culprits. In older kids, it’s generally fish, tree nuts, peanuts and shellfish.
What are the most common symptoms?
Food allergies usually provoke an immune response resulting in hives and/or swelling of the face or extremities. These symptoms usually begin within minutes of consumption and persist no longer than two to three hours. In some cases, however, children may also experience vomiting, diarrhea, breathing difficulties, loss of blood pressure and unconsciousness. These extreme reactions require prompt medical attention, since they could be a sign of a deadly anaphylactic reaction.
What types of allergy testing are available?
Oral food challenges are the gold standard test to diagnose food allergies. With this method, a child is given very small amounts of a specific food in increasing doses under close medical supervision. Skin prick tests are also available. With these tests, a child receives a small amount of an allergen at the surface of the skin. If a hive develops within 15 minutes, it’s usually a sign of a food allergy. Physicians may also test for blood IgE levels which demonstrate antibodies for a specific food. That said both skin prick and blood IgE tests do tend to have high false positive rates, so they aren’t always a preferred option for many patients.
Is food intolerance the same as an allergy?
Food intolerances are unlike allergies, because they do not involve the immune system. They also tend to result in vague, chronic complaints, such as headaches, fatigue, gastrointestinal problems, bloating, cramping and muscle soreness. In this instance, the body has difficulty digesting and processing a certain food correctly. Unfortunately, there are no validated or standardized tests for food sensitivities; however, patients can use food diaries to identify potential culprits.
Should I use a food elimination diet?
Talk to your child’s pediatrician or allergist before considering any elimination diet, since these can cause health problems and nutritional deficiencies.

Health News + Events

What to Expect With COVID-19 & Back-to-School Protocols

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States in early 2020, it turned life upside down for more than 50 million school-age children across the country. In fact, according to Ed  Read More

TikTok Health Hacks: Safe or Sham?

No matter your preferred social media channel, you’ve likely seen viral health hacks for everything from congestion to snoring to weight loss. We turned to our team of certified  Read More

How to Treat a Dog Bite

Dogs are undoubtedly man’s best friend, but even the friendliest of creatures can sometimes get spooked or display aggressive behavior. Bites can even happen when giving an excit  Read More

What Our Patients Are Saying

Rating 4.6
Rating 4.2
Rating 4.6
Rating 5.0

"The overall care I received was excellent! I also appreciate your affiliation with Yale New Haven Hospital."

Derby, CT

"Throughout the visit I felt like the staff really cared. The Doctor took his time talking with me about my symptoms, and I felt like he listened to all my concerns and took that into consideration when recommending the right treatment. Thank you!"

Hamden, CT

"I had to take my son in for an ear infection following a sudden change in temperament at daycare. He was inconsolable the entire car ride but when we got there and by the time we left this care facility he was back to his normal happy go lucky little two year old boy. I highly recommend PhysicianOne Urgent Care."

Westwood, MA

"I wanted to take a moment to thank you for the attention you gave me last week. My son was started on antibiotics and ear drops. Within 24 hours he began to feel better. The poor kid had been going to school in tears because he was afraid of missing any more days, but feeling (and looking) just awful! He's not been able to even think about lacrosse practice, but thanks to starting him on antibiotics, he was thrilled to return to practice today."

Somers, NY