We Understand Children's Food Allergies
As any parent of a child with a food allergy can tell you, they can have significant effects on the life of a child and family. Some children with food allergies experience mild but uncomfortable symptoms. Others react severely, and sometimes fatally, when exposed to food allergens. Identifying and learning how to live with a food allergy is essential to your child’s health and well-being. At the Food Allergy Centers at NewYork-Presbyterian's children's hospitals, we understand how your child's food allergy impacts his or her everyday activities as well as your entire family.
About Our Programs
The teams in our food allergy centers bring together pediatric allergists, gastroenterologists, pulmonologists, and nutritionists who work closely with young patients and their families to help them navigate the many challenges of living with food allergies. Child life specialists are also key team members and make each child's experience at the hospital as pleasant as possible.
Food allergies we treat
We care for children with:
- Common food allergies (such as eggs, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, soy, and wheat)
- Uncommon food allergies (fruit, meat, additives)
- Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), inflammation of the esophagus which can cause trouble swallowing and other symptoms. We have special expertise in the treatment of EoE, in collaboration with our colleagues in gastroenterology.
- Food protein-induced enterocolitis, a severe reaction to a food protein which can cause vomiting and diarrhea and sometimes progresses to dehydration and low blood pressure
- Food allergy that occurs with other allergic symptoms, including asthma and hay fever
- Genetic diseases that lead to allergy
Our Approach to Care
We first test your child for food allergies by performing skin tests and blood tests. Our centers have fully equipped treatment areas on-site where we can perform food challenges. During these tests, we safely determine if your child can tolerate a specific food by exposing him or her to it. We can treat a reaction immediately and effectively if one happens.
Once we've identified which foods your child is allergic to, we work with you and your child to learn how to eliminate those foods from the diet. This education is very important and will help your child and your family understand what foods he or she needs to avoid and how to handle a reaction if one occurs. Our specialists work closely with you to provide this education and to teach your child how to advocate for his or her own health.
How we treat food allergies in children
The care for a food allergy works best when patients and their families become our partners in care. We will work closely with you to find the best solutions for your child.
Education. We help you learn to read labels, make food substitutions, and provide your child with healthy, well-balanced meals that avoid allergens.
Prevention. Depending on the severity of the allergy, immunotherapy (allergy shots) may be part of your child’s treatment plan. Sometimes we use more advanced biologic treatments. Oral immunotherapy — which can help some patients tolerate increasing amounts of food to which they are allergic by slowly introducing the food at low doses — may be used to manage certain food allergies.
Treatment of allergic reactions. We also create a plan for dealing with an allergic reaction. Your child's plan may include medications to use in case of an emergency, such as antihistamines or an epinephrine auto-injector (epi pen).
Why Choose Us
Food allergies can exist individually or in the context of multiple other health issues. When you bring your child to NewYork-Presbyterian's children's hospitals for the care of food allergies, you'll have access to all of the specialists your child may need. This team approach ensures that your child's entire well-being — not just the food allergy — receives attention and care from an integrated, multidisciplinary team of expert. As your child gets older, we provide transitional care to teach him or her how to advocate for themselves as they go on to receive care from adult care providers.