Are you worried that your child may have adverse reactions to food? If your child exhibits frequent symptoms of respiratory issues, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, rashes or worse, then it is time to ask your doctor about doing allergy tests for kids.
In this article, we will discuss in detail 3 different types of allergy testing that your doctor may order for your child. Having a background in these tests can help you better understand what the test is measuring and how to prepare your child.
1. Skin Prick Test
The skin prick test is an allergy test for kids. If your doctor suspects your child has a food allergy, such as a milk protein allergy, then they may order this test. During this test, your doctor will section off your child’s skin into several sections, often with a marker. After sectioning, the doctor will gently scratch the skin and insert drops of different solutions with different food allergens.
For example, one drop may contain soy protein and another drop will contain milk protein. After about 30 minutes, your doctor will check your child’s skin for bumps. These bumps indicate an allergic reaction to that solution.
2. Oral Food Challenge
Another allergy test for kids is the oral food challenge. While there are several types of oral food challenges, ultimately, your child will be prompted to eat certain foods in small amounts. Upon consumption, your doctor will closely monitor the child to see if there are any reactions. If there is no reaction, then the doctor will increase the dose of the food allergen.
In some cases, both the child and doctor know when they are consuming the food allergen, whereas other times they may be using a placebo so that the child and doctor do not know when the allergen is consumed. It is essential that this is done in the presence of your doctor, because a child could be at risk for an adverse reaction.
3. Elimination Diet
While an elimination diet is not a very clear-cut food allergy test for kids, this diet can be used to monitor patterns in your child’s symptom-food relationship. Typically, it is used for food intolerances instead of severe food allergies. In many cases, you can pinpoint which specific foods are causing your child issues just by making notes and changing your diet.
With an elimination diet, most (if not all) potentially problematic foods are removed from the diet completely for several weeks or month. After a period of elimination, problematic foods are introduced slowly (one food at a time) back into the diet. For example, in week 2 of reintroduction, your doctor will tell you to add gluten back into the diet. Then, in week 5, your doctor will tell you to add milk back into the diet.
Throughout the entire elimination diet, it is important to record what your child is eating, when foods are reintroduced, and what symptoms your child experiences each week.