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Preparing for Your Food Allergy Appointment

Allergy Medication Withdrawal

Please have the patient stop taking ALL ANTIHISTAMINES 5 days before their appointment except for patients with certain conditions. If your child has chronic hives (urticaria), mast cell diseases (such as mastocytosis) or atopic dermatitis (eczema) AND if discontinuing the medication will cause significant worsening of symptoms or discomfort for your child, then you do not have to discontinue antihistamines prior to your appointment. Please note that skin allergy testing may not be possible at your visit if antihistamines are taken within 5 days of the appointment.

If you have any questions, please talk to your child’s doctor or call us. Many over-the-counter cold medicines contain antihistamines.

Do not stop any other medications including asthma medications. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you are unsure.

Please check the label or ask a pharmacist if you are unsure. Common antihistamines include:

Actifed D’Allergy Phenyltoloxamine
Alavert Desloratadine Promethazine
Allegra Dexachlorpheniramine Maleate Robitussin
Atarax Dimetane Sudafed, Sudafed Plus
Azatadine Maleate Dimetapp Tavist
Benadryl Diphenhydramine Triaminic
Cetirizine Drixoral Tripolidine Hcl Vistaril
Chlorpheniramine Maleate Fexofenadine Tylenol Allergy
Chlortrimeton Hydroxyzine Vistaril
Clarinex Loratadine Zyrtec
Claritin Levocetirizine  
Contac Periactin  

What to Expect

The evaluation of your child for food allergies begins with a complete history. We ask you to bring a food history, including information about all reactions that have occurred after your child has eaten certain foods, including photos, if you have them. We also ask about your child's personal and family history of allergy. Next, we perform a physical examination to identify signs of allergic disease. Often the history is more important than the examination, and it is not necessary for us to see your child while they are having a reaction.

Initial food allergy evaluation is performed using skin prick testing and ImmunoCAP testing, a blood-based test that looks for immune globulin type E (IgE) to a specific food. Skin prick testing is helpful in ruling out an allergy. With a negative test, we can be 95% confident that your child does not have an allergy to the specific food. A positive skin prick test is only 50% predictive of an actual allergy so having a positive test and a history consistent with an allergic reaction helps determine food allergy. It is important to remember that skin prick tests alone often are not enough to diagnose an allergy. ImmunoCAP testing involves testing a small amount of blood to see if there is evidence of allergy to a specific food and is typically used to track food allergies over time.

When we suspect a food allergy, avoiding the food is recommended. This is the best way to prevent and avoid reactions. We will provide you with instructions and extensive education regarding food avoidance, which is essential for your child's safety. There are also treatment options available to some patients, including oral immunotherapy. Support groups can help you understand the day-to-day needs of your child.

We will also teach you how to manage accidental exposures and reactions. We provide an emergency plan and education regarding the use of oral anti-histamines and auto-injectable epinephrine. Everyone responsible for the care for your child must be instructed on food allergen avoidance, the signs of an allergic reaction and how to treat a reaction with emergency medications.

We will follow up with your child once or twice a year. During follow-up visits, we review any new health concerns. Your child's emergency plan for an accidental ingestion will be updated. Using skin prick testing, blood tests and sometimes a food challenge, we can confirm if your child has outgrown their food allergy.

Download a sample Emergency Plan (English)
Download a sample Emergency Plan (Spanish)

Before the First Visit

  • Plan to arrive at your appointment location at least 15 minutes before the scheduled appointment time, remembering to allow plenty of time for parking.
  • In an effort to provide a timely experience for all of our patients, please note that if you are more than 15 minutes late, there is a risk that the appointment may need to be cancelled and rescheduled.
  • Things to bring to your first appointment:
    • Your insurance card and co-payment, which will be collected when you check-in.
    • Any referrals your insurance requires before your child sees a pediatric specialist or for testing. Call your insurer directly to confirm what you need.
    • Your child's medical records, lab results, medical imaging CD's, and any other physician notes related to your child's visit.
    • Any medication your child is taking including the name and phone number of the pharmacy.
  • The patient must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian as a complete medical history will be obtained in addition to the physical exam and any necessary testing. The visit may last up to three hours.
  • Because we are an academic medical center, your child's complete health care team may include a fellow, resident or medical student.

Contact Us

Need to cancel or reschedule an appointment? Please call 312.227.6010 as soon as possible or at least 24 hours in advance. It helps us, and it helps other families receive timely care. Also, if your child develops chicken pox, please call us to reschedule.

Need to speak with us?

  • Office hours are Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • When the office is closed: call 312.227.6010 and leave a message for the on-call physician

After 10 p.m.

  • If there is an emergency, go to the emergency room or call 911
  • If your call is not an emergency, you may leave a message and your call will be returned on the next day
  • You also may wish to call your child’s primary care doctor. If needed, your primary care doctor or emergency medicine physician may contact our on-call physician through the hospital operator at 312.227.4000

COVID-19 Precautions

Lurie Children's is an environment where your family’s safety and health is our priority. Learn more about the measures in place at our main hospital as well as our outpatient and surgery centers to ensure your safety on our COVID-19 information page

Skin Prick Allergy Test

Scroll through the photos to see the different stages of a skin prick allergy test.