In this section
The following pre-referral guideline covers allergic reactions and a history of anaphylaxis for children of all ages.
This guideline does not cover acute management.
Please call an ambulance if concerned (000) and see
What is an allergy or
Clinical practice guidleines - Anaphylaxis for more details on history taking and acute management.
See also specific fact sheets/ guidelines on Food Allergy, Drug Allergy and Latex Allergy
The most common allergens in children are peanuts, tree nuts (e.g.cashews), eggs, cow's milk, fish and shellfish, wheat, soy, sesame, latex, certain insect stings and medications.
Reactions to other foods do occur, but are less common (e.g. rice).
Food allergy (caused by an immune mechanism) is different to food intolerance (non-immune). Examples of intolerance include lactose intolerance due to absence of lactase enzyme in GI tract, scromboid fish poisoning, MSG, erythema from strawberries, citrus or tomatoes.
The majority of food allergies are not life-threatening.
Emphasize that the majority of food allergies are not dangerous.
Avoidance of specific types of food is not recommended if the child has never been exposed or never had a reaction to the food. Parents should introduce small amounts of food and observe.
If history is positive and specific IgE blood test is negative, GP may perform a supervised food challenge, however be aware that 2% will react and have emergency management equipment available.
Penicillin is the most common cause of serious allergic drug reactions in children.
The Asthma Management Handbook (2006). Asthma and Allergy (pp57-63) National Asthma Council Australia.
Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology website
ASCIA Education Resources.
Copyright 2006, Royal Children's Hospital (RCH) Victoria, Australia. Adapted with permission from Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center, Seattle, WA, USA.
The RCH and Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center are not responsible in any way for application of the procedures or guidelines to patient care at your facility. They are guidelines only and your professional judgment must always prevail. Guidelines may not be reproduced without permission. RCH Kids Connect - Primary Care Liaison.
These guidelines were developed by specialists at the Royal Children's Hospital and reviewed by a working group of metropolitan and rural general practitioners in Victoria. Last reviewed in October 2013 by RCH Allergy and Immunology Department and Primary Care Liaison.