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Oral Food Challenge Information

Your child is scheduled for an Oral Food Challenge (OFC). This is an exciting step in your child’s allergy journey.

Before the OFC: How to prepare 

Do not give any non-sedating antihistamines (such as Zyrtec®) for 5 days or sedating antihistamines (such as Benadryl®) for 3 days.

Bring the food being challenged in the purest form available. The food must not have any of your child’s other allergens (if any).

Do not give your child anything other than clear liquids (clear juice or water) for 4 hours before the oral food challenge time.

Bring an injectable epinephrine pen (Epi pen), Benadryl® and Anaphylaxis Action Plan with you to use in case of a reaction after leaving the hospital.

The Day of the OFC: What to expect

Your child will be seen by an advanced practice nurse (nurse practitioner) to make sure your child is well enough to do the OFC. You will have a chance to ask questions. Your child will change into a hospital gown.

During the OFC, your child will get 7 small doses of the food every 15 minutes. A nurse will check your child’s skin and vital signs (temperature, blood pressure, heart rate and respirations) before each dose. After the last dose is given, your child will be monitored for 1 hour. The total time is usually 3-4 hours. 

If there are signs or symptoms of anaphylactic or allergic reaction, the OFC is stopped. Medicine may be given depending on the severity of the reaction.

Anaphylactic or allergic reaction may include, but is not limited to:

  • rash or hives
  • itching
  • swelling
  • dizziness
  • congestion or sneezing
  • difficulty swallowing
  • wheezing or difficulty breathing
  • cough
  • abdominal pain or vomiting

If medicine is given, your child will be monitored longer.

After the OFC: Care at home

After leaving the hospital, watch for signs or symptoms of a reaction and follow your Anaphylaxis Action Plan.

The advanced practice nurse will give your allergist an update on your child.

Avoid the allergen tested until your allergist gives you instructions on how to bring this new food into your child’s diet. 

Questions?

This sheet is not specific to your child but provides general information. If you have any questions, please call your clinic.

Last reviewed 5/2016

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This page is not specific to your child, but provides general information on the topic above. If you have any questions, please call your clinic. For more reading material about this and other health topics, please call or visit Children's Family Resource Center library, or visit www.childrensmn.org/educationmaterials.

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