Where do I go next?
This flow chart explains what happens after you have visited your GP and whether you need to visit an allergy specialist. Please note that this only applies to food allergies.
Adapted from RCPCH care pathway for food allergy and NICE food allergy in children and young people[RCPCH, NICE]
Should I worry?
If your child develops additional symptoms such as allergies, eczema or hay fever, or you feel that their allergic reactions are getting stronger, speak to a doctor.
If you are concerned that a child may have a food allergy you can talk to the child's GP, health visitor or school nurse.
There is no need to worry when you go and see your doctor, however, it is advisable to go prepared.
To help you get the most from an appointment with a nurse or doctor, you might want to think about the answers to the questions which you will most likely be asked. Questions like these should be asked before a child is offered an allergy test:
- How old was the child when the symptoms first started?
- How quickly do the symptoms develop?
- How severe are the symptoms?
- How long do the symptoms last?
- How often do the symptoms occur?
- When the symptoms usually occur?
- Do the same symptoms occur every time your child eats a certain food or is in a certain environment?
- How much of the suspected food does your child need to eat for symptoms to appear or how long does your child need to be in the suspected environment before symptoms appear?
Why has my child been referred to a consultant?
In some cases a child might need to see a specialist doctor who only looks after patients with allergies.
This does not necessarily mean the situation is more serious and might be because:
- An elimination diet has not worked
- The child has had a severe allergic reaction
- The child has asthma or severe eczema
- If the results of the allergy tests are negative but a food allergy is still suspected
- The child is allergic to more than one food
If despite investigation you are not happy with the outcome, you may want to consider seeking a second opinion or contacting a private health provider. Avoid buying commercially available allergy tests, including those available on the internet, because they are not reliable or accurate.
RCPCH] Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. Care pathway for food allergy updated February 2012. Available here; Accessed March 2013.
[NICE] National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. Food allergy in children and young people (CG116). 2011. London: National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.