If you have ever experienced red, itchy skin, swelling, vomiting or trouble breathing after eating or coming into contact with a certain food, you may wonder if you have a food allergy.
While diagnosing food allergies can be tricky, an Asthma & Allergy Center Clinician has the training and expertise to know which tests to give you and how to accurately interpret them.
Your Asthma & Allergy Center Clinician will take a thorough medical history, followed by a physical exam. You may be asked about contents of the foods, the frequency, seasonality, severity and nature of your symptoms and the amount of time between eating a food and any reaction.
An allergy skin test may determine which foods, if any, trigger your allergic symptoms. In skin testing, a small amount of extract made from the food is placed on your back or arm. If a raised bump or small hive develops within 20 minutes, it indicates a possible allergy.
In certain cases, such as in patients with severe eczema, an allergy skin test cannot be done. Your Asthma & Allergy Center Clinician may recommend a blood test. False positive results can occur with both skin and blood testing, but there is another type of test that an Asthma & Allergy Center Clinician can perform if there is any doubt.
To confirm your diagnosis, an allergist may perform a food challenge. Food challenges are done by consuming the food in a medical setting to determine if that food causes a reaction. Do not try this test at home. Anaphylaxis (pronounced an-a-fi-LAK-sis) is a serious allergic reaction that happens very quickly. Without immediate treatment, it can be fatal.
If a reaction should occur during a food challenge, your Asthma & Allergy Center Clinician can spot the symptoms and provide a shot of epinephrine (adrenalin) and expert care.
Once you know which foods you are allergic to, your Asthma & Allergy Center Clinician can help you develop a treatment plan so you can be healthy and safe.
Eight kinds of food cause most food allergies:
• Cow’s milk • Soy
• Eggs • Fish
• Peanuts • Shellfish
• Wheat • Tree nuts
To The Point
Diagnosing food allergies is tricky, but an Asthma & Allergy Center Clinician knows which tests to give you and how to interpret them.