Multiple Food Allergies Signs & Symptoms


Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Management, Advocacy Groups


Multiple food allergies can make life challenging for you and your child. Meals at home, dining out, and meeting nutritional needs can become obstacles. Learn more about multiple food allergies and how Neocate can help.

Who is Affected By It?

Anyone can develop multiple food allergies. Experts estimate that up to eight out of 100 infants and children are allergic to one or more foods, and about 30% of those children have multiple food allergies.

Some food allergies are pretty rare, whereas others are more common. There are 8 foods that account for 90% of food allergic reactions. The most common food allergens are the proteins found in:

  • Cow milk
  • Soy
  • Eggs
  • Wheat
  • Peanuts
  • Tree nuts (e.g. almonds, walnuts)
  • Fish
  • Shellfish

Like many allergic disorders, doctors aren’t sure of the exact cause of food allergies, or why some people develop food allergies while others do not. Researchers are working to better understand factors that may contribute to food allergies.

Once someone has a food allergy, the cause of the symptoms is simple: exposure to the food!


Signs and symptoms of food allergies may be immediate or may take several hours or even several days to appear, and result from the immune system treating the offending foods as dangerous invaders. Food allergies may cause a range of signs and symptoms, including:

  • eczema, or atopic dermatitis, a skin rash
  • hives, or urticaria
  • reflux, or spitting up
  • vomiting
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • nausea
  • colic/irritability
  • blood and/or mucus in the stool
  • feeding problems
  • growth failure, or failure to thrive
  • wheezing, or in rare cases anaphylaxis

Signs and symptoms of food allergies vary and often resemble symptoms of other illnesses or conditions. A child with multiple food allergies may have one or several of these signs and symptoms. Your child's doctor can help determine if what you're seeing is related to food allergies.


For an accurate allergy diagnosis, refer to your healthcare professional. Here are some tests that your healthcare professionals may use to help them diagnose a cow milk allergy.

Here are some tests that may or may not be used to help them diagnose multiple food allergies:

  • Trial food elimination: Suspected foods are removed from the diet to see if signs and symptoms of food allergy improve or resolve. For infants, this can mean continuing to breastfeed while mom avoids suspected food(s) from her diet, or a change in formula.
  • Oral food challenge: Some of the suspected allergen is fed to the patient, often in the doctor's office for safety, to see if a reaction occurs. A food challenge is "open" if the parent and/or patient know what the food is, or "blinded" if they don't know whether it's a safe food or the suspected allergen.
  • Blood tests: Some tests use a patient's blood to see if a food is likely to cause an allergic reaction.
  • Skin prick test: The skin is pricked to introduce a small amount of the potential antigen under the skin (in close contact with the immune system).

For infants suspected of having multiple food allergies, it may be followed by an oral food challenge to confirm that there is a food allergy.


There is currently no cure for multiple food allergies. The surest way to manage food allergies is to avoid any foods that you're allergic to. Easier said than done! Neocate can play a key role in the dietary management of children with multiple food allergies. It’s different from other formulas because it’s made with free amino acids, the simple building blocks of protein. Neocate has neither whole nor fragmented protein chains that can trigger an allergic response. Amino acid-based formulas, such as Neocate, are the most hypoallergenic formulas available.

For infants allergic to multiple foods, the first choice is to continue breastfeeding while mom avoids all food allergens in her diet under medical supervision. (She may need to supplement her diet with some nutrients that the avoided foods are high in.) If formula is needed to supplement or replace breast milk, a formula like Neocate is recommended for infants with multiple food allergies that include a milk allergy.

Older children and teens with multiple food allergies are at risk of not consuming enough key nutrients when eliminating common food allergens like milk, soy, egg and wheat. Neocate formulas are nutritionally complete and can help increase key nutrient intake and close nutritional gaps in multiple food allergies.

More information on Neocate and multiple food protein allergies can be found in our Neocate Footsteps Parent Guide.

Advocacy Groups

Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) is a nonprofit organization that was formed in 2012 as the result of a merger between the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) and the Food Allergy Initiative (FAI). FARE works on behalf of the 15 million Americans with food allergies, including all those at risk for life-threatening anaphylaxis.

Kids with Food Allergies is a go-to resource as well. They offer daily assistance and practical food allergy management help and have a large online peer support group focused solely on children’s food allergies. Registration is free and a good place for giving and getting help with food ideas, recipes and cooking challenges!

Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Connection Team (FAACT) is a national non-profit organization who's mission is to educate, advocate, and raise awareness for all individuals and families affected by food allergies and life-threatening anaphylaxis. Whether it’s keeping children safe at school, responding to food allergy bullying, traveling, preparing for college, dealing with workplace issues, or simply taking the family out for dinner, FAACT has all the facts you need to manage food allergies and stay healthy. FAACT is your voice for food allergy awareness.

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