Food allergy affects 6-8% of young children in the UK. A diagnosis of food allergy has a massive impact on a child and the everyday life of their whole family. Strictly avoiding foods can be difficult socially and stress levels from food allergy rate higher than those seen in people with diabetes. It is essential for optimal management that all of the problem foods are correctly identified, that parents know exactly how to recognise and treat allergic reactions if they occur and that the common allergic problems such as eczema and asthma, that commonly go hand in hand with food allergy, are identified and treated.
A careful, detailed clinical history taken by an experienced physician coupled with allergy tests such as Skin Prick Testing or Specific IgE blood testing, together with provocation challenges remains the most reliable way to reach a diagnosis or exclude allergy as the cause of the problems.
I also see many children in my clinic who are unnecessarily avoiding certain foods that they believe they are allergic to and restricted diets can be nutritionally unsound, especially in growing children. As a practicing consultant in paediatric allergy I can quickly diagnose acute allergies that may cause rapid reactions and give you a personalized management plan for your child.