Food allergy testing in Atlanta.

Why Is Food Allergy Testing Important?

Over the last two decades, food allergies have risen dramatically in Atlanta and across the United States. Understanding your allergy trigger is an important step towards preventing an allergic reaction, and food allergy testing has become an increasingly valuable tool in this fight. So what exactly is food allergy testing, and how is it used to treat allergies?

What Is Allergy Testing?

An allergy test is an examination conducted by a professional allergist to determine the substances that cause a reaction. There are various allergy tests available, and after a consultation, an experienced allergist will determine the preferred option. The three most common allergy tests are as follows.

What Types of Food Allergy Tests Are Available?

Skin Prick Test

A skin prick test is the most common food allergy test. It can provide accurate results in around 20 minutes. First, you will discuss symptoms to help narrow down potential allergenic substances. Next, solutions containing allergens are placed on your arm. A small needle prick then allows the substance to enter the skin. If you have an allergy, a red bump will appear shortly after the test.

Blood Test

A blood test is also used to check for common food allergies. The process detects the amount of immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies that are produced to fight threats to the immune system. An increased level of IgE antibodies indicates that excess levels are being produced to fight against harmless substances, such as peanuts, shellfish, eggs and other foods. Blood tests provide accurate results, but there will be a delay due to the need for laboratory analysis.

Oral Food Challenge

An oral food challenge is often used when a skin prick or blood test has failed to confirm the cause of an allergy. Under careful supervision, small doses of food are consumed in gradually increasing amounts. Between each portion of food, your allergist will monitor for any effects. A minor allergic reaction, such as a skin rash or runny nose, will confirm the allergy, whereas no response means that particular food can be ruled out.

Can Food Allergies Be Treated After Testing?

Combining your symptoms, medical history and allergy test results, your allergist will recommend an appropriate treatment. Avoidance of the food may be required, and you may need to carry an epinephrine auto-injector in case of anaphylaxis. Antihistamines could also be prescribed for mild allergies. A more long-term solution is oral immunotherapy treatment (OIT). OIT involves consuming gradually increasing doses of an allergen with the goal of building tolerance levels.

Start Treating a Food Allergy Today

If you are concerned about a food allergy, don’t put off getting tested any longer. Chacko Food Allergy Treatment Center can diagnose your food allergy and provide an appropriate treatment plan. Request an appointment at one of our locations in Alpharetta, Atlanta, Canton, Cumming, Druid Hills, Duluth or Johns Creek either online, or by calling (678) 668-4688.

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