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Help! I Think My Child Has A Food Allergy

Determining whether your child has a food intolerance or food allergy can be quite tricky.

It’s also very important to try and find out what he’s intolerant or allergic to as soon as possible, as it can be damaging to his body each time he eats it.

One of our mums is very worried that her little boy might be intolerant or allergic to something he’s eating or drinking, but she’s having trouble with their unsupportive GP. We posted her question on our Facebook page to ask whether the rest of our community has any advice.

"Hi Mums. My two-and-a-half year old seems to have a range of food intolerances. We've struggled to get support from our GP, so last year we paid €160 for a finger prick test. This gave us 13 food items but no follow up with how to manage it.

We've had him on an exclusion diet for about eight months and started to reintroduce some foods. This had been going great until hives started continuously appearing in addition to tummy and behavioural problems. I'm worried that it's allergic reactions rather than intolerances.

Hives were never an issue before. As it's not serious enough in our GP's eyes to warrant a referral or any advice, can anyone recommend a dietician or doctor that we can see privately for some advice? We don't have insurance and are on lowish wages so cost is a consideration too. Thanks."

READ MORE: How To Find Out If You Have A Food Intolerance

Insist On Getting Your Child Treated

Orla: I would bring him to an A&E during the morning on a weekday and demand to see a paediatrician from the hospital. I wouldn't leave until somebody took notice and helped my son.

Sara: I work for a GP and charging €160.00 for blood tests is a load of rubbish! The GP's are in a position to do blood tests and they are sent to St. James hospital. You may be charged a regular bloods fee as tests are not covered under the GMS scheme (we don’t charge patients with medical cards for bloods). Results can take anything up to four weeks to come back. Why don't you request a copy of the results from the doctor (they must supply these if you put the request in writing) and you will see to whom they were sent for analysis and contact that company directly. If it were me, I'd go back to the doctor. Don’t take no for an answer and insist on a follow up.

Edel: This is outrageous! Every time you feed him it could be causing damage. And the GP doesn’t think it’s serious enough? I’d bring the child to an A&E, sit him up on the bed, and tell the doctors there that you won’t leave the room until you have a referral letter for a dietician in your hand. We’ve a dairy intolerant child here, and that’s what I had to do to get dairy free formula – after seven months of hell.

READ MORE: Allergy-Friendly Chocolate Cake With Avocado Icing

Try Another GP

Amy: Is there another doctor in your GP’s practice? Could you see if they'd refer you? I'd keep badgering the GP until they refer you. We got into the allergy clinic in Crumlin but it's taken three years of visits to the dermatology clinic in Crumlin. My little girl has nut allergies and egg intolerance.

Lulu: I would change GP. 

Lorraine: I would change GP for sure and get a referral

Mary: Hives are a sign of an allergy, I think. I would certainly be changing GP’s too.

Emma: Definitely sounds like allergies. I'd ask friends in the area if they have a more open-minded GP and switch GP to get a referral. Go with your gut instincts. You know your little one best and this would be best figured out now rather than later.

Breeda: I don't see why you have to pay for it. You should consider taking him to another GP.

READ MORE: Diagnosing Allergies In Children Under Two

Alternative Ways

Mary: We got my little boy's hair tested in the Chinese herbal healing shop in Blanchardstown shopping centre. It was very accurate (I already had an idea of triggers) and they rank intolerances so you know how long to exclude before reintroduction. The test was €50 and had to wait just under two weeks for results.

Caitriona: If you can find a kinesiologist in your area, they should be able to help you. I took my son to one and she was able to tell me what intolerances he had and what to do to help him.

Try Your PHN

Kim: Our public health nurse (PHN) referred us to our regional dietician who in turn referred us to a consultant in Dublin.

Maria: Get your public health nurse to refer him to a local community dietician.

If you’d like some more information regarding food allergies, visit the Irish Food Allergy Network (IFAN)’s website.

Does your child have a food intolerance or allergy? How did you get it diagnosed? Do you have any other advice for this worried mum?


About the Author

Elsje is our Parenting Staff Writer. She’s probably one of the biggest ‘Friends' fans there is and absolutely loves sport and adventure. She has a background in South African news journalism, and has been living in Ireland since January 2018. Elsje loves animals, especially cats, and wouldn’t mind living on an island surrounded by them. She also loves it when people compliment her very South African accent. Read more about her Irish adventures on her blog: anirishsouthafrican.wordpress.com.

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