Children

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Caring for children with food allergies

Learn how our Gastroenterology, Liver and Nutrition Program cares for children with food allergies.

Related tests and treatments:

Our approach to food allergies

When certain foods make your child sick — sometimes dangerously so — it can make life difficult for the entire family. The specialists at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin can help. Food allergies can be treated primarily by our gastroenterology or allergy programs or in collaboration with both areas.

It’s important to note that true food allergies (which involve an abnormal response of the immune system) are different from food intolerances, such as lactose or gluten intolerance. Children with suspected food allergies are usually first referred to Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin’s Allergy and Immunology Center for allergy testing and treatment. If your child is not growing well or is experiencing a symptom like blood in the stool, your child may be referred to our gastroenterology team. Our gastroenterologists can also help diagnose and manage food intolerances.

Our skilled gastroenterologists, allergists and dietitians will work together to determine the best treatment plan for your child. Our dietitians offer comprehensive education and resources, including a food allergy class several times a year to help inform parents, daycare providers and other caregivers about how best to care for children with food allergies.

Food allergies services we offer

Diagnosing and treating food allergies

Your child’s physician will use your child’s medical history and/or specific tests to make the proper diagnosis. Some allergic conditions, including eosinophilic esophagitis and eosinophilic gastroenteritis, may require endoscopy and biopsy to confirm the diagnosis. Our gastroenterologists are experts in advanced endoscopic procedures.

If your child needs to eliminate certain foods from his or her diet, it’s important to understand which foods or supplements to substitute to avoid nutritional consequences. Children’s nutritional needs also change over time, so be sure to stay in touch with your dietician to make sure your child’s diet is meeting his or her needs.

For additional resources, go to foodallergy.org.

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