The Importance of a Food Allergy Diagnosis
A 2019 survey published by the medical journal JAMA Network Open found that approximately 10.8% of US adults had a food allergy. Plus, almost 19% of those surveyed believed they were suffering from food allergies. However, only around 1 in 20 participants in the study had been diagnosed by a doctor. This data indicates a need for more food allergy testing to accurately confirm a diagnosis. Atlanta residents who believe they have a food allergy may be curious to know what allergy testing involves.
Top 3 Food Allergy Tests
There are a number of ways to conduct food allergy testing. Each option will have individual benefits, and your doctor can suggest the most appropriate option – after discussing your symptoms and any medications you may be taking.
Skin Prick Test
A skin prick test is the most common food allergy test, offering a quick and safe testing option. Various substances can be placed on the arm to test for many allergies at the same time. A needle is used to pierce the top layer of skin, allowing each substance to enter the skin’s surface. After around 15 minutes, the doctor will analyze your arm for signs of a reaction.
There are several blood test options, and your doctor will determine which is appropriate based on your symptoms. The test will analyze the levels of an antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE). When you come into contact with an allergen, your body produces this antibody to protect yourself. In the allergy blood test, a blood sample is taken and sent to a laboratory to check for the presence of antibodies.
Oral Challenge Test
An oral food challenge test is usually conducted if a skin prick or blood test has proven inconclusive. The oral challenge test should always be conducted under the supervision of an allergist, in case an allergic reaction develops. The patient consumes small quantities of the food suspected of causing the allergic reaction and the amounts gradually increase. The patient will be monitored for symptoms to determine if the food is causing the allergic reaction.
What Can Be Done to Treat a Food Allergy?
While there is no single cure for food allergies, once the food allergy has been diagnosed there are various treatments available.
- Avoidance – Avoid eating any foods that cause a reaction.
- Medication – Antihistamines can be beneficial in certain cases. Carrying an epinephrine auto-injector is important for dealing with anaphylaxis.
- Oral Immunotherapy – Gradual and structured consumption of the food allergen to desensitize the immune system to its presence.
Start Dealing With Your Food Allergy Today
When you are concerned about a food allergy, the first step is to get food allergy testing. Chacko Food Allergy Treatment Center will review your symptoms and suggest the appropriate testing procedures. We are located in Alpharetta, Atlanta, Canton, Cumming, Druid Hills, Duluth and Johns Creek. Contact us for an appointment today at 678-668-4688.
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