What to expect at your food allergy appointment
Food allergy testing can be a scary experience for a child. Read on for more information on how to prepare your child for his or her first allergy test.
Available clinic times
Clinic appointments are available Tuesdays and Wednesdays by referral only. To ensure you can be seen, please ask your primary care physician to submit a referral. Children’s Medical Center Food Allergy Center accepts most major insurance plans.
Important first visit information
The first appointment can take an hour and a half to two hours. Your child will visit many specialists. This could include Dr. Bird, a nurse practitioner, a nurse, a dietitian, and a fellow/resident.
Your child should stop taking antihistamines such as loratadine (Claritin), cetirizine (Zyrtec) and fexofenadine (Allegra) one week prior to the FIRST appointment, and antihistamines such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and hydroxyzine (Atarax) should be stopped 48 to 72 hours prior to the FIRST appointment. However, all other medications, including any asthma medications and nose sprays should be continued as usual. Please bring your medications and bottles with you to your first visit.
The diet record
We ask our new patients to submit a diet record of what your child has been eating. The diet record is available online under New Patient. We need to understand what foods your child has been eating or not eating during the week before your first visit. This information will provide us the tools we need to make your first visit extremely effective.
If your child has asthma
It is important for you to let us know ahead of time if your child also has asthma. We will want to coordinate a test with the pulmonary function lab during your visit. It is often difficult to coordinate a time for the pulmonary function test (PFT) so please call us at 214-456-2084 at least 24 hours ahead of your visit.
It is also helpful if you remind the check-in staff that your child has asthma and will probably need a test with the pulmonary function lab.
Nurse administers skin test (based on family history). We wait for 15 minutes and measure the skin's reaction. This is called a wheal. You will then be sent to the lab for blood work. The lab work will take approximately one week for us to get back. After that time, your care team will review it and call you to discuss the results.
If we identify a food allergy, you and your child will be sent home with materials about food allergies. We will review foods to avoid, a food allergy action plan and a "how to read labels" guide. If needed, a dietitian can speak to you and your child to answer questions or review the action plan further.
Some children will also need a food challenge. If your child needs a food challenge or a follow up appointment, a member of your care team will call you. Follow-up appointments can be either 3 months, 6 months or a year after the first visit. Between appointments, you will have time to understand what’s working and what’s not working with your child’s allergy action plan. If we do not find a food allergy, you may not need to come back or may be referred to another Children’s Health specialist.