- October 4, 2019
- Posted by: Fox Medical Centers
- Category: Blog
Almost all of us have had it—a bad reaction to food. However, it’s easy to mix up a food allergy with food poisoning instead, leaving you with an allergy you’ll never know about. Don’t second guess; try food allergy testing to be sure and safe.
The Ins and Outs of Food Allergy Testing
Depending on the allergist you visit, you can do several tests to determine what you are allergic to. Food allergy testing can include a skin test where a tiny drop of the liquid food extract you might be allergic to is placed on the skin. Another type of skin test is one where your doctor will prick your skin to see if a red, raised bump appears about fifteen to twenty minutes afterward. Although this test sounds harmful, it is completely safe and is not extremely painful.
If the bump appears, you are indeed sensitive to the food that your allergist is testing, and most likely allergic. However, this test does not always show whether or not you truly have an allergy unless you have had a bad reaction to the food before. A blood test involves drawing from a vein in your arm and analyzing it in the lab. This test is a little rarer, and the results are usually not available for at least a week. If you go to a trusted, board-certified allergist, these tests can be accurate and show whether or not you have an allergy.
However, food allergy testing might show that you are allergic even if you have no symptoms when you eat a certain food. In this case, you can ask for another type of test, the oral food challenge. This is done at a doctor’s office or in a hospital setting, and you’ll primarily eat or drink small portions of the food and increase the portion every time you eat it to see if a reaction occurs. It’s important to remember that just because your symptoms don’t show up right away does not mean that you aren’t allergic. While some people can break out into hives immediately after eating strawberries, others don’t experience symptoms until hours afterward.
When you first start with food allergy testing, your doctor will ask for a complete medical history, the food you’re concerned about, your symptoms, how long it takes for the symptoms to occur, how much of the food you ate when you reacted, and how often the reaction happens. Your allergist will also want to know if you ate any other foods that might have caused the reaction and what type of medical treatment you did (if any) when you had a bad reaction. You’ll also have to provide information about your general diet, where you live, and if your family has a history of food allergies.
Should I Do Food Allergy Testing?
The answer is most likely yes. Instead of risking it and letting a potentially life-threatening reaction occur, you should consult with a doctor before experimenting with food when trying to figure out what you are allergic to. After visiting an allergist, you might have to keep a daily log of what you eat and what your symptoms are, as well as your medication.
Your doctor might also ask you to stop eating the suspected food for a week or two and then trying it again to see if your symptoms flare up. If they do, this food is likely causing your allergy. However, food allergy testing is essential, and you should not try it on your own without first speaking to an experienced doctor. The last thing you want to risk is anaphylaxis, so be on the safe side and do the right tests.