Food Allergy Tests and Services

Learn How to Prepare, What to Expect and What to Bring

We offer several tests and services to help diagnose and treat your child. They include:

  • Skin-Prick Test

      Prepare

      - Your child must stop taking any antihistamines five days before his appointment. He should continue to take any asthma medicines.

      - Follow your doctor's directions about when to stop taking other medicines before your procedure.

      - Do not apply any lotions or creams to your child’s arms or back the morning of the appointment.

      - Be sure to tell your child’s doctor about all of the medicines he is taking and bring them with you to the appointment.

      If you and your child are not able to meet any of these conditions, please call our office, as your child’s test may need to be rescheduled.

      What to expect

      - We will write a number on your child's back or arm using a regular pen or marker.

      - The tests will feel a little like a cat scratch and typically will not cause major discomfort.

      - We will measure your child’s reactions after 20 minutes.

      - The results of these tests will help guide our dietary decisions and will let us know if food elimination is needed. This means there may be specific foods that your child should not eat.

      - After the test, we will clean your child's back and apply cream to help with any itching.

      - This appointment should last about two hours.

      What to bring

      Books, games or a toy to comfort him, along with his usual antihistamine medicine to take once the skin test is complete.

  • Patch Test

      Prepare

      - Your child should stop taking oral corticosteroids and non-steroid anti-inflammatory medications three to five days before his test.

      - Follow your doctor's directions about when to stop taking other medicines before your procedure.

      - Do not apply topical steroids to your child’s back seven days before his test.

      - Have your child stay out of the sun seven days before his test.

      - Your child’s skin should be clear (free from eczema, cuts and scrapes) two weeks before his test, if possible.

      If you and your child are not able to meet any of these conditions, please call our office, as your child’s test may need to be rescheduled.

      What to expect

      Fresh food (such as baby food or powder mixed with water) will be placed on a small metal disk and taped to your child's back.

      - The patches will feel like adhesive bandages.

      - The number of patches your child gets depends on the number of foods that need to be tested.

      - The patches cannot get wet, so your child will need to take sponge baths until they can be taken off.

      - Your child can take part in normal activity, but should not participate in sports or activities that will cause him to sweat.

      - The patches will be taken off after 48 hours, during your child’s follow-up appointment.

      - We will measure any reactions to determine if your child is allergic to certain foods.

      Keep in mind that patch testing requires two appointments:

      - One appointment for the patches to be placed

      - A second appointment to remove the patches and measure any reactions

      Contact our office at 404-785-2000 if your child experiences itching or burning under a patch.

  • Food Challenge

      What to expect

      - Only your doctor can schedule this appointment. 

      - Your doctor will let you know if it is safe for your child to complete a food challenge based on his test results and any previous reactions. 

      - Your child must stop taking antihistamines five days before this appointment. He should continue to take any asthma medicines.

      - We will use food powder during the challenge.

      - Please bring applesauce for your child to eat with the food powder.

      - Your child will eat small amounts of the food to be challenged (tested), while a nurse closely tracks his vital signs.

      - Initial amounts of test food will be very small.

      - Food amounts will increase every 30 to 40 minutes until your child eats a meal-size portion or the test needs to stop due to your child’s symptoms.

      - This appointment should last about four hours.

      What to bring

      - In addition to applesauce, bring books, games and other items to keep your child entertained.

      - You also need to bring your child’s EpiPen.

      - A parent must be present for the entire visit. Our space is limited, so we ask that you do not bring siblings to the appointment.

      - Before bringing other food into the food challenge room, please talk to your nurse or doctor.

  • Nutrition Appointment

      What to expect

      This appointment can last from 30 minutes to one hour.

      After your child has had all tests he needs (skin-prick, patch, endoscopy), our nutritionist will meet with you and your child to decide what foods he will need to avoid. 

      Because each food group provides different nutrients, avoiding multiple food groups can cause health problems if not carefully managed. Our nutritionist will work with you and your child to come up with a food plan that addresses any nutrients your child needs to avoid. We will make sure the food plan fits into your lifestyle and keeps food fun for your child. 

      We never want you or your child to feel you are alone in this process. Ongoing help from support groups and social media is available to make sure your child’s elimination diet is a success. 

  • Endoscopy

      Prepare

      Your child should have nothing to eat or drink after midnight the night before the test. He can only have sips of water or a supplement—like Pedialyte—up to four hours before you are to arrive at the hospital.

      Call us at 404-785-2000 if your child eats food that has to be avoided. This may trigger a reaction and could result in an increase in eosinophils. We can reschedule another biopsy appointment in a minimum of two weeks.

      Follow your doctor's directions about when to stop taking medicines before your procedure.

      What to expect

      Most procedures take 15 to 20 minutes. 

      - Your child will receive sleep medicine right before the test. This will help him relax and prevent discomfort. 

      - A pediatric anesthesiologist will give your child general anesthesia. Anesthesia is medicine that will put your child into a deep sleep. 

      - The procedure uses with a long flexible tube, about the width of a finger, called an endoscope. It has a camera at the tip, which allows the doctor to view the inside of the digestive tract on a video screen. It is inserted into the mouth and down into the stomach and small intestine. Air may be added through the endoscope to allow the doctor to see more clearly. 

      - Small pieces of tissue, called biopsies, are taken out through the endoscope and sent for examination in the laboratory. 

      You will get more information when your appointment is scheduled.

  • Feeding Therapy

      We make referrals for feeding therapy in our clinic and send them to our outpatient rehabilitation team. 

      Once we make the referral, call outpatient rehabilitation at 404-785-7100 to schedule your appointment. The scheduler will find a therapist who accepts your insurance and a location that is most convenient for you.

  • Patient Family Counseling

      A behavioral psychologist can be very helpful if your child has developed fears related to food and eating. 

      In our clinic, we make referrals for an evaluation by a behavioral psychologist. You can also self-refer to The Marcus Autism Center Feeding Disorders Program.

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