Children who develop a rash, hives, swelling, vomiting, or difficulty breathing after eating certain foods or ingredients often have food allergies. Even though allergic reactions can be severe, food allergies are manageable -- and many kids outgrow them. Duke Children’s allergy and immunology specialists uncover food triggers and help your child live safely and confidently with food allergies.
Diagnosing Food Allergies and Related Conditions in Children
Our pediatric allergists are experts in diagnosing the full spectrum of food allergies -- including peanut, milk, and other common allergies -- as well as food intolerances, such as lactose or gluten intolerance. We also diagnose and treat the following complex allergic conditions that may cause serious complications.
- Eosinophilic Esophagitis
Inflammation of the esophagus that can cause delayed growth, abdominal pain, and trouble swallowing.
- Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome (FPIES)
This type of food allergy affects the GI tract. It causes severe vomiting or diarrhea in babies up to several hours after they have eaten certain foods.
Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.
Tests for Food Allergies in Children
Duke’s pediatric allergy and immunology specialists take time to evaluate your child’s symptoms and answer your questions and concerns. We may perform a variety of tests to determine the food allergy type and severity.
Skin Prick Tests
These tests confirm the presence of food allergies using a liquid solution that contains allergens. Raised bumps will appear at the site of an allergic reaction.
These tests detect whether the body produces antibodies against certain foods, which triggers an allergic reaction. Results show the significance of an allergy on a numeric scale.
Oral Food Challenges
Performed in the safety of our clinic, these challenges slowly introduce foods to test for allergic reaction. The process takes several hours and requires medical oversight in the event of a severe reaction. Duke also uses oral food challenges to safely reintroduce foods as your child outgrows an allergy.
Duke Children's Hospital & Health Center is proud to be nationally ranked in nine pediatric specialties.
Treating Your Child’s Food Allergy
Living with food allergies begins with a proper diagnosis. This is an important first step because some food allergies can be life-threatening and require different levels of care. Our pediatric allergists provide comprehensive care that includes accurate diagnosis, ongoing education, symptom management, and referrals to specialists. Our care continues until your child outgrows his or her food allergy or transitions care to an adult allergy specialist.
Education and Assistance
We help you and your child understand food allergies, including what to look out for and how to read food labels, prepare meals, and eat away from home.
A Team of Specialists
When necessary, we refer your child to a gastroenterologist or nutritionist to help manage his or her diet and reduce digestive symptoms.
We monitor your child’s allergies regularly. If your child appears to be outgrowing a food allergy, we can often work to safely incorporate the food back into the diet, using oral food challenges as necessary.
Testing Infants at High-Risk for Allergies
We test infants who are at high-risk for developing food allergies, such as those with eczema, and offer guidance to safely introduce foods during the first year of life.
If your child has other allergies, such as asthma, allergic rhinitis, or eczema, we provide comprehensive care in one location. For your convenience, we offer allergy and immunology care at multiple locations throughout the Triangle.