Food Allergy Management
Food allergy management is the cornerstone of this practice. We aim to provide you and your family with the confidence to be able to manage your child’s food allergy, so that they are protected against accidental exposures to the food and are able to effectively manage any allergic reactions they have.
Food allergies can be a serious and potentially life-threatening condition, affecting millions of people around the world. An allergic reaction occurs when the immune system overreacts to a particular food item, leading to a range of symptoms that can be mild or severe, and even fatal in some cases.
Common food allergens include peanut allergy, tree nuts, milk, eggs, and shellfish allergy, but it is important to note that ANY food item can cause an allergic reaction.
Food allergy management process
Managing food allergies requires a proactive approach that involves diagnosing and avoiding known food allergens, identifying symptoms of an allergic reaction, and taking appropriate action in case of an allergic reaction. This may involve carrying emergency medication such as antihistamines, adrenaline auto-injectors, such as EpiPens, and seeking prompt medical attention when necessary.
One of the first steps in managing a food allergy is allergy diagnosis to identify the specific food item that triggers an allergic reaction. This can be done through blood tests or skin prick tests that measure levels of Immunoglobulin E (IgE), an antibody produced by the immune system in response to a particular food item.
Food labels are a valuable resource for people with food allergies, as they can help identify potential allergens in packaged foods. The label should clearly list all ingredients and any potential allergens.
It is important to read labels carefully and avoid any food items that contain the allergen, even in small amounts. Following the introduction of Natasha’s Law, food businesses are now required to include full ingredients on pre-packed for direct sake foods.
With proper planning and a proactive approach to food allergy management, people with food allergies can lead a healthy and active life.
In addition to avoiding allergens, people with food allergies will also benefit from learning about the different types of food and the potential for cross-reactivity between allergens. For example, people with a tree nut allergy may also be allergic to other types of tree nuts, or have an allergy to peanuts. This will be covered during an appointment with us.
Food allergy symptoms
Symptoms of a food allergy can range from mild to severe and may include hives, itching, swelling, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and abdominal pain. In some cases, an allergic reaction can lead to anaphylaxis, a severe and potentially life-threatening condition that requires emergency medical attention.
Symptoms of anaphylaxis may include difficulty breathing, swelling of the tongue throat, difficulty swallowing or speaking, hoarse voice, skin going pale or blue, feeling persistently dizzy , collapsing or falling. Read more in our Anaphylaxis in Children section.
People with food allergies should be aware of the potential risk of anaphylaxis and should carry emergency medication with them at all times. In our clinic all parents are issued with a food allergy emergency action plan to follow and provide to other caregivers, nursery or school so that they know what to do in case of an allergic reaction.
If anaphylaxis occurs, it is important to use their adrenaline autoinjector and seek medical attention immediately, by calling 999.
Some people may also experience oral allergy syndrome, which is a condition that causes itching and swelling of the mouth and throat in response to certain types of raw fruits and vegetables. This is typically caused by cross-reactivity between tree pollen and certain types of food and does not usually lead to anaphylaxis.
How Children’s Allergy Doctors can help…
At Children’s Allergy Doctors, we first ensure that you have a clear diagnosis of which foods your child is allergic to, plus we screen for other possible related food allergies. We subsequently provide verbal and written advice on how to avoid the foods and what to do in case of an accidental exposure to one of these foods.
We understand that having a child with a food allergy can be very demanding, due to having to be vigilant with reading food labels, checking menus and being aware of possible environmental food contact. We aim to provide you with the resources to make this easier, less burdensome and enable your child to live a normal life that is not restricted by their allergies.
We will work with you to develop a safe and nutritious diet plan that avoids specific foods or food groups. We will provide the nationally recognised personalised written emergency plan from the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology which includes the food allergens to avoid and how to treat an allergic reaction.
In some cases, a person with a food allergy may be able to tolerate small amounts of the allergen, but this should be done only under our guidance through a food allergy desensitisation programme.
If your child requires adrenaline autoinjectors as part of their treatment plan, you will be given training on how to use this and trainer pens (without a needle) to be able to practise at home.
What parents say:
“When my 6 month baby first reacted to egg and diary with instant hives, I was shocked and very overwhelmed to say the least. We had no history of allergies in the family! I was constantly worrying about further reactions in the future, and who with/where/what she will be eating for the coming years!
We decided to see Dr Brough privately due to lag time on the NHS for an appointment (due to COVID) and it’s the best decision we could have ever made! She arranged all of our investigations promptly, explained clearly the link between any eczema and allergies and how to get this eczema well under control. She gave us lots of verbal and written information along with clear epipen instructions and so forth. She modified our moisturising regime as appropriate for our baby’s skin at every examination. It was the most thorough care I have ever received.
Lo and behold, 6 months on from our initial appt – our baby has grown out of her egg allergy, has no nut allergy (but she was deemed high risk) and is on step 3 of the milk ladder, essentially discharged from Dr Brough’s wonderful care! Dr Brough is a lovely, caring doctor and has an incredible knowledge base which makes you trust her even more! Not to forget the nursing team which were also wonderful!
Many thanks for your advice and care