The holidays can be fraught with risks for kids with food allergies and their families. It can be especially nerve wracking if you suspect your child may have an undiagnosed sensitivity. Pediatric Associates of Northern Colorado is here to help! We offer allergy testing to give you the information and advice you need to regain your peace of mind. Read on to learn more about the process of diagnosing and living with food allergies, and contact Pediatric Associates today to schedule your appointment! We’re always here for you, and we have a doctor on call even after hours to make sure you and your family are taken care of. We look forward to seeing you in our Fort Collins office!
In part one of this series, we went over the basics of food allergies, such as the cause, the difference between an allergy and an intolerance, and a few common food allergies you may want to watch for. If you are looking for more information on food allergies in kids, we encourage you to review part one of this series! Today, we’ll be discussing what you can expect from your allergy test appointment, and what you can do if your child does have a food allergy.
When you speak to your child’s pediatrician about a possible food allergy, there are several questions they will likely ask you, including:
- What are your child’s symptoms?
- How often do they experience a reaction?
- How soon do they react after exposure?
- Is there a family history of other allergies or conditions that may cause similar symptoms, like asthma or eczema?
Keep these questions in mind as you monitor your child, and you can come into your next appointment prepared.
When it comes to testing your child for a food allergy, there are several options. A common starting point is an allergy skin test, which Pediatric Associates of Northern Colorado can offer. This test applies tiny amounts of different substances to your child’s skin – typically on their back or forearm – to see if any of them incite a reaction in the form of red, raised spots. An allergy skin test is not a definitive way of identifying food allergies, but it is a good starting point.
Blood tests are another way of diagnosing a food allergy or sensitivity. Your doctor may also recommend a controlled test where your child is slowly exposed to increasing amounts of a food allergen while under observation. These tests should only be done in a healthcare center where immediate medical treatment is available. Often, they are chosen to help determine if a child has outgrown a specific allergy.
How You Can Help
There is no cure for food allergies, but there are steps you can take to minimize your child’s exposure and discomfort. In most cases, your child’s doctor will simply recommend that they avoid the allergen if at all possible. To do this effectively, make sure you read all food labels carefully. Substances like corn and soy are incredibly common, and you can frequently find them in processed foods. Distributors are required to state if their food contains any of traces of the six most common allergens, including many of those we listed in part one of this blog series, which can help you make more informed choices for your child’s health and safety.
There are also substances that can help treat the symptoms of an allergic reaction, like antihistamines, that you can carry. If the potential reaction is serious enough, your child’s pediatrician will likely recommend they carry an epinephrine auto-injector, more commonly known by the brand name EpiPen®. In this case, you should make sure that the adults and authority figures in your child’s life are informed of their allergy, where the epinephrine is stored, and how to administer the shot. This includes babysitters, teachers, and family friends. You may also want to consider ordering them a medical alert bracelet so strangers and emergency response teams alike will know about your child’s allergy. Many kids live safely and happily with food allergies, but that can all depend on taking the right preventative steps!
Call Pediatric Associates Today
Whether your child has an existing food allergy you want to learn more about, or you want to schedule an allergy skin testing appointment, contact Pediatric Associates of Northern Colorado! We are the only private local clinic in Fort Collins focusing solely on pediatrics, and we are proud to accept patients from across the Front Range and beyond. Choose dedicated, friendly care for your family and call today to schedule your next appointment!