Skin rashes & food allergies

My seven year old son has had a series of rashes that have been very difficult to diagnose. They resemble a prickly heat rash, but have some other symptoms. Anyway, our doctor gave him an allergy test that came up with a positive to peanut butter and a maybe to soy products, wheat, cats. None of these have seemed to relate to one of his rashes.

Admittedly, this information is vague, but I was hoping that you would have some knowledge of how we should react. We eat somewhat of a vegetarian diet, although we will fix meats for our kids and they eat them at school, etc.

Thank you


Sue Gilbert

Sue Gilbert works as a consulting nutritionist. For many years she worked with Earth's Best Organic Baby Food, integrating nutrition and... Read more

Dear Katy,

Food allergic reactions can sometimes take a day to become apparent. The best way to try and associate the skin rashes with the offending food is to keep a food diary for a week, writing down all he eats and drinks (in amounts consumed), reactions that you see, and when they occur. This information should be shared with your doctor or allergist. This information combined with the skin prick test will be very helpful in confirming an allergy. If one is suspected, you may want to try an elimination diet to see if the symptoms disappear. This will involve eliminating the suspected foods from your sons diet for a week or two. Keep track of symptoms, or lack of them. Then you can reintroduce the foods one at a time to see if a rash appears

You will need to be a careful label reader, as peanuts, soy and wheat are contained in foods and you may not be aware of it. You will also need to be very careful about the foods your son may get at school or at friend's houses, etc. to be sure the food is not eaten during the elimination period.

Since your son seems to be allergic to several foods, your doctor may want to preform a food challenge because they are more reliable than skin prick tests. In this test the child is given a capsule containing the suspected allergen, or it may be hidden in another food. A reaction is watched for. If none occurs, larger and larger doses of the food are given.

Peanuts, soy, and wheat are very common allergens so it would not be surprising if these were the culprit foods. If you do finally reach the conclusion that this is the problem you will need to establish a healthy diet for your son that guarantees the exclusion of these foods. For more guidance with managing food allergies in children the following resources may be helpful:

Thank you for writing.

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