At the North Shore Paediatric Allergy Centre (NSPAC), we recognize that oral food challenges are a necessary and essential part of pediatric allergy management. Oral food challenges, performed by our Clinical Nurse Specialist in conjunction with Dr Tan, involve giving food in a controlled setting under close medical supervision. Our on-site facilities have been specially designed for this purpose.
Reason for food allergy challenges
Food challenges are performed to further determine if your child is allergic to a specific food, or has outgrown their allergy. It is not performed to ascertain the severity of an allergic reaction (eg anaphylaxis).
Allergic reactions can be mild (in the majority of cases) to severe (anaphylaxis). If anaphylaxis occurs, your child will be administered Adrenaline and will be transferred to a nearby hospital via an ambulance for observation.
Does my child need to fast?
No fasting is required on the day of the food allergy challenge. However, it is recommended that your child does not have a full meal prior to the challenge so that he or she will be ready to consume the food offered during the challenge.
What will happen on the day?
We request that no antihistamines are given to your child for at least 48 hours prior to the allergy food challenge. Your child should also be clinically well. If your child is unwell (or you are unsure) or has had to take antihistamines within 48 hours of the challenge, please call 9411 8888 to reschedule as soon as possible.
On arrival, a doctor will assess your child and a skin prick test performed to the food your child is being challenged to.
The nursing/medical staff will offer your child a small amount of food, gradually increasing the amount every 15-20 minutes. Staff will observe for an allergic reaction. After the final dose, your child will be observed for a further 1-2 hours.
To aid the food challenge, we ask that you bring along some of your child’s favourite foods as it can sometimes be challenging to introduce a food that your child has been told to avoid (eg: ice cream, sauces or biscuits that they have consumed in the past without issues). As the challenge can take several hours, we recommend that you bring some entertainment for your child (eg: games, colouring books or a digital device).
Due to space constraints only one parent or legal guardian is able to attend the challenge appointment with the child. We are unable to accommodate siblings and other family members during the challenge.
After the challenge, Dr Tan will explain the results of the oral allergy challenge. Parents will also be given an post challenge instruction sheet for their child. A letter will sent to your referring doctor to inform them of the outcome of the allergy food challenge. Meanwhile, parents can also call the practice on 9411 8888 if there are any concerns or queries regarding the oral food challenge.