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Food Allergy Test

Food allergies are becoming increasingly prevalent in society. According to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI), approximately 15% of children under age three suffer from food allergies. This number increases to 25% by the age of six and 50% by the age of 12.

A food allergy is defined as “an adverse reaction to certain substances found in foods that cause symptoms such as hives, itching, swelling, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, difficulty breathing, dizziness, fatigue, headache, loss of consciousness, shock, coma, or death." Food allergies can occur anytime between infancy and adulthood, although most cases develop before the age of five. Your physician will perform a skin prick test to identify possible allergens.

Read our buyers guide to learn more about food allergy tests and how they work.

Buyer's Guide

How To Choose The Best Food Allergy Test

What is the Purpose of a Food Allergy Test?

Food allergies occur when someone's immune system reacts negatively to certain foods. People who suffer from food allergies experience symptoms ranging from mild irritation to severe reactions. Symptoms vary depending on which part of the body is affected by the allergic reaction. Common signs of a food allergy include hives, itching, swelling, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, headaches, dizziness, fatigue, breathing problems, and skin rashes.

How Does Testing MedLinePlus Diagnose Food Allergies?

MedLinePlus offers a comprehensive food allergy screening service. If so, it indicates that the patient has developed an allergy to a particular food. Patients are given a list of common allergens to choose from. Once selected, they fill out a questionnaire regarding their medical history. Then, they undergo a physical examination to check for signs of anaphylaxis. Afterward, they complete a follow-up survey to evaluate their progress.

Can Anyone Have An Allergic Reaction From Eating Certain Foods?

Yes, anyone can develop a food allergy. Although rare, infants and young children are especially susceptible to developing food allergies. Other risk factors include family members who have been diagnosed with food allergies, exposure to dust mites, pets, and eczema.

Is There Anything Else That Needs To Be Done Before Taking MedLinePlus' Food Allergy Screening Service?

No additional preparation is required before taking the test. However, patients must abstain from eating anything containing gluten prior to undergoing the procedure.

The Importance of Purchasing a Quality Food Allergy Test

Food allergies are common among infants and toddlers. Although it's important to know whether your child has a food allergy before he/she eats certain foods, it's equally important to identify which foods cause allergic reactions so that you can eliminate them from his/her diet.

What Are Common Symptoms Associated With Food Allergies?

Common symptoms associated with food allergies include hives, swelling, vomiting, diarrhea, eczema, asthma, and rashes. If left untreated, these conditions can lead to serious health problems. Fortunately, there are several ways to determine whether your baby suffers from a food allergy. One way is by performing a skin prick test. Skin prick tests involve pricking the patient's arm with tiny needles containing allergens. Afterward, the doctor examines the site to see if redness occurs within 15 minutes. Redness indicates a positive reaction.

Is Testing Necessary Before Feeding My Baby Certain Foods?

Yes! Because food allergies are common among young children, it's essential to perform a food allergy test prior to introducing him/her to certain foods. Performing a food allergy test involves injecting a drop of liquid into the patient's forearm. Afterwards, the doctor observes the results. Positive reactions indicate that the patient has a food allergy.

Can Anaphylaxis Occur During A Food Allergy Test?

Anaphylactic shock is a severe form of food allergy. It causes sudden breathing difficulties, dizziness, and low blood pressure. While undergoing a food allergy test, patients must wear medical alert bracelets. If signs of anaphylactic shock occur during the procedure, emergency personnel will immediately rush to the scene.

Should I Be Concerned About Other Types Of Food Allergies?

While peanut allergies are the most common type of food allergy, other types exist. For instance, egg allergies affect approximately 2% of children.

Features to Look For When Buying a Food Allergy Test

Food allergies are becoming increasingly common among Americans. While it's important to know whether you or your child has a food allergy, it's equally important to understand why certain foods cause symptoms.

What Are Common Symptoms Associated With Food Allergies?

The most common symptom associated with food allergies is hives. Other possible signs include eczema, asthma, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, headaches, fatigue, and difficulty sleeping. If you suspect that your child suffers from a food allergy, talk to his doctor immediately. He may recommend a skin prick test or blood tests to determine which foods he's sensitive to.

Is Testing Medically Necessary?

While it's always advisable to consult with your physician before undergoing any medical procedure, it isn't necessary to undergo a food allergy test. However, if you've been diagnosed with celiac disease, you must follow a gluten-free diet.

Can Foods Cause Anaphylaxis?

Anaphylactic shock occurs when someone experiences sudden swelling of the throat, lips, tongue, face, and/or airways. People suffering from anaphylaxis experience extreme discomfort and sometimes die within minutes.

Which Foods May Be Causing My Child's Hives?

It's difficult to pinpoint exactly which foods trigger a reaction in a person with a food allergy.

Peanuts, egg whites, dairy products, and seafood contain proteins called allergens.

Some people react only to specific allergens. Others react to multiple allergens.

Different Types of Food Allergy Test

Food allergies are common among babies and toddlers. If you suspect that your child has a food allergy, it's important to rule out other causes before making a final diagnosis. That way, you can treat the problem properly. Here are three tests that doctors commonly perform to diagnose food allergies.

Skin Prick Testing - Skin prick testing involves pricking the skin with tiny needles filled with allergens. Afterward, the doctor observes whether the patient experiences hives, itching, swelling, redness, or blisters.

Blood Tests - Blood tests measure levels of specific antibodies produced by the immune system. Doctors compare the results to determine which foods cause allergic reactions.

Which Type Of Food Allergy Test Is Best?

The type of food allergy test depends upon several factors. First, each test measures different aspects of the body's response to food. Second, each method offers advantages and disadvantages. Third, each test requires different amounts of time and money.

Is Skin Prick Testing Better Than Other Methods?

Some experts believe that skin prick testing is superior to blood and intestinal challenges. One reason why is that skin prick testing doesn't involve invasive procedures. Furthermore, it's quick and inexpensive. Additionally, it produces reliable results.

Can Both Blood And Skin Prick Testing Be Used At Once?

Yes, both methods can be combined. However, only a few doctors recommend doing so. Instead, they suggest performing either skin prick testing or blood testing separately.

Does Each Method Have Its Advantages?

Each method has its own set of benefits. For instance, skin prick testing is useful for diagnosing immediate hypersensitivity reactions. Meanwhile, blood testing is helpful for identifying delayed hypersensitivity responses.

Do Both Methods Require Special Equipment?

No, neither method requires special equipment. However, you must prepare the skin prior to testing. Otherwise, the procedure might produce inaccurate results.

FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions About: Food Allergy Test

What is a food allergy test?

A food allergy test measures your immune system's response to certain foods. A food allergy test looks at how your body reacts when exposed to specific foods. If your immune system has been triggered by a particular food, this will show up during the test.

What Types Of Food Allergies Exist?

Food allergies can range from mild reactions like hives to more severe symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea. Food allergies can occur after eating something as simple as peanuts or as serious as a reaction to a life threatening drug.

What Should I Expect During My Food Allergy Test?

During your food allergy test, you'll have a blood sample taken. Your doctor will then look at the results of your blood sample to determine whether you're allergic to certain foods.

Will A Food Allergy Test Hurt Me?

No, a food allergy test won't hurt you. Allergy tests involve taking a tiny amount of blood.

What happens during a food allergy test?

Your doctor will ask you about your medical history and perform a physical exam. Then he/she will take a small amount of blood from your arm. Next, they will give you a shot of a special medication that stimulates your immune system. Finally, they will check your skin for signs of a reaction to the food you've eaten.

When Can I Eat Again After A Food Allergy Test?

You can eat right away after your food allergy test. There's no need to wait until your next appointment.

Where Can I Learn More About Food Allergy Testing?

We offer free information about food allergy testing including what to expect during the test and tips for preparing for your visit.

We recommend that everyone gets tested for food allergies. But if you don't want to use a needle, we can provide a non-invasive alternative.

If your child was previously diagnosed with a food allergy, you may already know how their food allergy test went.

What kind of food allergy test am I going to receive?

Allergies are classified into two categories: IgE mediated and non-IgE mediated. Most food allergies fall under the category of IgE mediated.

What Is The Difference Between Ige Mediated And Non-Ige Mediated Food Allergies?

In IgE mediated food allergies, the immune system produces antibodies against the allergen. These antibodies attach themselves to cells that line the inside of the mouth, throat, stomach, intestines, lungs, and airways. When the immune system encounters the same allergen later, it releases histamines and other chemicals that cause swelling and inflammation.

Non-IgE mediated food allergies aren't caused by antibodies. Instead, the immune system sends out T lymphocytes instead of B lymphocytes. These T lymphocytes release cytokines that trigger an inflammatory response. Inflammation causes swelling and redness around the area where the food entered the digestive tract.

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