It is very important to make a definitive diagnosis when food allergy symptoms are seen. Early diagnosis should be made and the child should be relieved. Unnecessary diet should not be done in vain. With this article, we tried to explain how to diagnose food allergy in children.
In the diagnosis of food allergy, the symptoms should be listened first.
In order to diagnose food allergy, first of all, food allergy symptoms must be present. Then, a detailed evaluation should be made in these food allergy symptoms. Because food allergy reactions can be confused with reactions from other diseases. Food allergy usually shows itself before the age of 2 years. After the age of 2, the likelihood of developing food allergies is less.
In addition, it is useful to tell your doctor about which foods your child has eaten, the symptoms seen, the frequency and severity of the symptoms, and the allergic diseases in the family.
Tests to be done to diagnose food allergy
For children with symptoms of food allergy, a diagnosis is made by pediatric allergy specialists with tests such as skin food allergy test, blood food allergy test, interruption of allergenic foods and food challenge tests.
It is very valuable to do a food allergy test on the skin. Because in blood tests, the results may vary depending on the quality of the device. Blood tests do not give immediate results. Skin tests give results within 15-20 minutes. It gives more accurate results. For this reason, skin allergy testing is generally preferred in the diagnosis of food allergy.
At what age should allergy testing be done for food allergy?
Skin allergy testing can be done at any age. We generally hear from our patients that allergy testing cannot be done before the age of 3 years. However, this is wrong information. Since food allergy can usually go away after the age of 3 in children, it is easy to prevent the disease with early diagnosis. Even in a 2-month-old child, the cause of food allergy can be detected. Because foods passing through breast milk can cause allergies in the child.
Diagnosis is not made with just an allergy test.
Allergy testing alone does not diagnose food allergy. Because skin allergy testing only helps us identify foods that are likely to cause allergies. A true diagnosis is made by a loading test. This should be done by pediatric allergists. Otherwise, you may encounter very poor results with an inexperienced challenge test on a child with severe allergies. You can cause allergic shock with the loading test.
Skin Allergy Test
The skin prick test allows to detect the food you are allergic to. In this test, concentrated extract drops of foods thought to be allergic are applied to your child’s arm or back. A sharp object is inserted into the areas where these drops are applied so that the drop passes under the skin. If your child is allergic to this tested food, the area will become red and swollen.
Skin testing is the most useful method for detecting allergies. Because in this test, your child’s reaction to the allergen is measured directly, and the reaction of the body is seen.
Blood Allergy Test
In the blood allergy test, the amount of antibodies known as immunoglobulin E (IgE) in the bloodstream is checked. In this way, the reaction of your child’s immune system to certain foods is measured. For this test, a blood sample is taken from your child and examined in the laboratory to measure antibodies.
However, in blood tests, the quality of the test does not always give accurate results as the amount of blood may vary depending on the quality of the measuring device.
Keep a List of Foods Your Child Eats
It is inconvenient to diet according to the results of allergy tests made from blood or skin. Interpretation of these tests should be done by pediatric allergists. Otherwise, you can diagnose a food allergy in a child who does not have a food allergy just because there is a mild allergy in the blood or on the skin, and you can prevent the development of the child by dieting for a long time. Foods for which nutrient elimination decision has been taken should be removed from the diet for at least 2 weeks.
Children who do not have blood and skin allergies may also have a food allergy that does not show up in allergy tests, which we call Type 2 allergy. Diagnosis of this condition is also made by diet and loading tests.
If the child and mother are breastfed, the foods taken by the mother should be written in the food diary every day and the times of allergy symptoms should be noted.
As a result;
- Allergy testing can be done at any age in the diagnosis of food allergy.
- Food allergy cannot be diagnosed by allergy testing alone.
- The skin allergy test gives more accurate results as it measures the body’s reaction.
- It is very important that the diagnosis of food allergy is made by pediatric allergists.