Food Allergies in Children

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If your child consistently gets an upset stomach, hives or swelling after eating a certain food, your child may have a food allergy. When your child is allergic to a particular food (called an allergen), their immune system reacts to protein in the food as if it were harmful. This immune system reaction causes the actual allergy symptoms.

Food allergy reactions can vary from very mild to life-threatening. A severe allergic reaction affecting multiple areas of the body is called anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis requires immediate emergency medical attention because it can be fatal.

Does Your Child Have a Food Allergy?

Allergic reactions usually happen within two hours after eating. Symptoms of food allergies may include:

  • Skin:
    • Hives
    • Rashes or itchiness
    • Swelling
  • Airway:
    • Throat tightness
    • Sneezing
    • Runny nose or congestion
    • Wheezing or shortness of breath
  • Stomach:
    • Pain
    • Nausea
    • Diarrhea
    • Vomiting
  • Circulation:
    • Pale skin
    • Dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting

Your child may have several symptoms at once. If the symptoms are severe or progress quickly, don’t hesitate to contact emergency services.

Typical Food Allergens

These foods are the most common triggers of food allergies in children:

  • Cow’s milk
  • Eggs
  • Peanuts
  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Wheat
  • Soy
  • Tree nuts (such as walnuts, pistachios, pecans, cashews)

Diagnosing & Treating Your Child’s Food Allergies

To diagnose your child’s possible allergies, we may conduct allergy assessments. These assessments may include:

  • Skin test
  • Blood test
  • Food challenges

Food Allergies: Patient Resources

Peanut Challenge

Information from Pediatric Allergy Clinic about how to prepare for your peanut food challenge visit.

Wheat Challenge

Information from Pediatric Allergy Clinic about how to prepare for your wheat food challenge visit.

Soy Challenge

Information from Pediatric Allergy Clinic about how to prepare for your soy food challenge visit.

Baked Egg Challenge

Information from Pediatric Allergy Clinic about how to prepare for your baked egg food challenge visit.

Whole Egg Challenge

Information from Pediatric Allergy Clinic about how to prepare for your whole egg food challenge visit.

Tree Nut Challenge

Information from Pediatric Allergy Clinic about how to prepare for your tree nut food challenge visit.

Baked Milk Challenge

Information from Pediatric Allergy Clinic about how to prepare for your baked milk food challenge visit.

Unbaked Milk Challenge

Information from Pediatric Allergy Clinic about how to prepare for your unbaked milk food challenge visit.