Think certain foods might be giving you or your child trouble? Allergy testing can help you figure out what's going on.
See a board-certified allergist. First, he’ll ask you questions about what you think you’re allergic to and your symptoms. Sometimes that’s enough to pinpoint the problem food, or he may suggest some tests.
Do you suffer from frequent sneezing, congestion, watery eyes, and an itchy, runny nose? If so, you may have seasonal allergic rhinitis, often called hay fever. It strikes when pollen starts to fly.
About 18 million U.S. adults and more than 7 million children suffer from hay fever, according to the CDC. Fortunately, there are steps people with allergies can take to avoid pollen and the misery that accompanies it, says Andy W. Nish, MD, of the Allergy & Asthma Care Center in Gainesville, Ga...
First, he'll puts a small drop of liquid containing the food on your skin, and pricks it. Then he’ll watch for a reaction -- a small bump that may get red like a mosquito bite.
If your skin reacts, you’re probably allergic to that food. Your doctor can talk with you about other treatment options. If you don’t react, you’re probably not allergic to it.
Your doctor will take a sample of your blood and expose it to different allergens. You won’t learn the results right away. This test is usually sent to a lab, and results could take a week or more.
Doctors don't use it as often. They may use it if they have an idea of what you’re allergic to. That way, you don’t have to be exposed to what may be the cause.
Neither skin nor blood tests can accurately predict how severe a food allergy reaction may be.
Controlled Food Challenge
Doctors don't do this test often, because it's dangerous for people with severe food allergies.
When is it useful? To confirm a skin or blood test, or to see if a child has outgrown an allergy. It can be used to eliminate a specific food from the list, too. Why? Sometimes your skin might react to a food, but you wouldn't have symptoms if you ate it.