Call 911 or emergency medical help, or go to an emergency room if you or your child develops symptoms of anaphylaxis, such as difficulty breathing or a rapid, weak pulse.
If symptoms of an allergic response are less severe, call your family doctor or pediatrician for an appointment. In some cases, you may be referred to a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of allergic illness (allergist).
Here's some information to help you get ready, and what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Write down any symptoms you or your child has had, and for how long. Also note if you or your child has had a similar reaction to other foods in the past. If you have taken any photos of a previous reaction, bring those along to show your doctor.
- Make a list of your key medical information, including other recent health problems and the names of any prescription and over-the-counter medications that you or your child is taking. It will also help your doctor to know if you have a family history of allergies or asthma.
- List any recent dietary changes. Include as many details as you can about new foods you or your child has recently added to your diet. Your doctor will also want to know if you've recently started giving your baby a new kind of infant formula. Bring to the appointment any labels or ingredient lists from the foods that concern you.
Write down the questions you want to be sure to ask your doctor.
Below are some suggested basic questions to ask your doctor about soy allergy. Don't hesitate to ask additional questions during your appointment at any time that you don't understand something.
- Do these symptoms suggest a food allergy?
- Do you think soy is the most likely cause?
- Are there any other possible causes for these symptoms?
- How will you make the diagnosis?
- How can soy allergy be managed?
- What food products do I or my child need to avoid?
- Should I or my child carry an epinephrine auto-injector?
- Should I or my child wear a medic alert bracelet?
- Does soy allergy increase my or my child's risk of other food allergies?
If your child is the one with symptoms, also ask your doctor these additional questions:
- What adults should know about this allergy in order to help keep my child safe?
- Do you expect my child will outgrow soy allergy?
- Are my other children at increased risk of soy allergy? If yes, are there preventive steps I should take to guard their health?
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may reserve time to go over any points you want to talk about in-depth. Your doctor may ask:
- What symptoms have you or your child been experiencing?
- When did these symptoms begin?
- Do symptoms appear shortly after eating a particular food? If yes, how soon afterward?
- Do these symptoms seem to be getting worse?
- Have you or your child recently added new foods to your diet?
- Are you or your child allergic to any other foods?
- Do you have a family history of allergies or asthma?
- Are you or your child being treated for any other medical conditions?
If your baby or child is the one with symptoms, your doctor also may ask these additional questions:
- Have you recently started feeding a new infant formula?
- Do you or did you breast-feed your child? For how long?
- Has your child recently started eating solid foods?
- What foods are typically included in your family diet?
What you can do in the meantime
Symptoms of soy allergy in babies may appear when a baby starts a new, soy-based infant formula. If you suspect your baby is allergic to soy, try to reduce his or her exposure to allergens by feeding your baby breast milk and — if your baby is eating solid foods — soy-free food products. If you're not nursing, ask your doctor for advice on what to feed your child to reduce the risk of symptoms while you wait for your appointment.
If you have symptoms of soy allergy, avoid food products that contain soy until you've been evaluated by your doctor.
May. 20, 2011
- Savage JH, et al. The natural history of soy allergy. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 2010;6:125.
- Atkins D. Food allergy: Diagnosis and management. Primary Care: Clinics in Office Practice. 2008;35:119.
- Sicherer SH. Food allergens: Overview of clinical features and cross-reactivity. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Feb. 8, 2011.
- Keet CA, et al. Food allergy and anaphylaxis. Immunology and Allergy Clinics of North America. 2007;27:193.
- Ballmer-Weber BK, et al. Soy allergy in perspective. Current Opinion in Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 2008;8:270.
- Soy allergy. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. http://www.aafa.org/print.cfm?id=9&sub=20&cont=522. Accessed Feb. 8, 2011.
- Thygarahan A, et al. American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations on the effects of early nutritional interventions on the development of atopic disease. Current Opinion in Pediatrics. 2008;20:698.