Sometimes food allergy is the cause of daily problems, such as rashes (atopic dermatitis, eczema) or gut symptoms (pain, vomiting, poor growth)
How are food allergies diagnosed?
Many symptoms can look like a food allergy but may be caused by other types of allergies (for example, pollens, animal dander) or an illness that is not a food allergy (like a viral infection). It is important to discuss your child’s symptoms with your doctor
Your doctor evaluates the medical history and may perform allergy tests (skin scratch test or blood tests for allergy)
Sometimes the history and simple tests are not enough to identify a food allergy and trials of food removal or doctor-supervised feedings are needed
How are food allergies treated?
Once diagnosed, the main treatment is to avoid the food
For some people, small amounts of food can trigger a reaction
Tips for Avoidance
Read labels every time—even if you find brands you trust or if you do not expect a food to contain your/your child’s allergen
Use extra caution when dining at high-risk establishments, such as salad bars, buffets and ice cream parlors—avoid high-risk establishments if at all possible
Buy pre-packaged foods that contain a label and avoid bulk bins in order to prevent accidental ingestion due to cross-contact
If at all possible, remove the allergen from the home; if unrealistic to remove allergen from home, wash hands after eating family member’s food allergen, keep surfaces and dishes clean and keep allergen-containing food out of reach; be aware of allergens in pet food if child with food allergen is at a young enough age they may be inclined to sample the pet food/treats.
Food allergy education
Learn about label reading (see tips for avoidance above), acquiring a safe restaurant meal, and managing school and camp.
Teach and remind relatives and friends about your child’s food allergies and how to treat them with epinephrine should exposure and symptoms occur.