Diagnosing Food Allergies in Kids (Video)

Experts say most allergies show before age 2

peanut butter on slice of bread

Food allergies can cause serious reactions, especially in children. So, it’s important to pinpoint what foods may present a problem to your son or daughter as quickly as possible. Velma Paschall, MD, is a pediatric allergist at Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital. She says food allergies typically surface before age 2.

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“With milk and egg allergy, these allergies present very early in life. Soon, within a few times after the food has been ingested. With peanut, I would say a majority of kids that we see with peanut allergy are also presenting now before the age of 2 years,” Dr. Paschall says.

Dr. Paschall says allergies can cause mild or severe reactions including:

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  • Hives
  • Swelling
  • Belly pain
  • Repetitive coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Trouble breathing

If you suspect a food allergy, the first step to take is to get your child into your pediatrician’s office. You’ll be questioned about the reaction, its characteristics and what foods may have caused it. Dr. Paschall says the next step would be to begin allergy testing.

“After getting a very careful history and getting an exam, we would often do allergy testing. Most frequently, we use skin testing, but in some cases, we may use a blood test,” Dr. Paschall says.

If your child has a food allergy, your doctor will talk to you about avoidance and what to do in the case of an accidental ingestion. Communicating with your doctor is really important in treating children’s allergies.

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More information

Food Allergies
Allergies: Questions and Answers
Allergy Medications
Allergy Glossary of Terms

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