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 allergens -- 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.
- 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.
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, or wheals, indicate sensitization to a food.
These tests detect whether the body produces antibodies against certain foods, which could potentially trigger an allergic reaction. Interpretation of these tests by experts is important, as they often show sensitization that does not necessarily indicate a true clinical allergy.
Oral Food Challenges
Performed in the safety of our clinic, these challenges allow for the introduction of foods in a supervised setting, often to confirm a child has outgrown their food allergy. The process takes several hours and requires medical oversight in the event of a severe reaction.
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.
If your child has other allergies, such as asthma, allergic rhinitis, or eczema, we provide comprehensive care in one location.