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Health Information For Parents
How do doctors test for food allergies? – Debra
Doctors often use a combination of skin testing and blood testing to diagnose a food allergy.
One common skin test is a scratch test. For this test, a doctor or nurse will scratch the skin with a tiny bit of liquid extract of an allergen (such as pollen or food). Allergists usually do skin tests on a person’s forearm or back. The allergist then waits 15 minutes or so to see if reddish, raised spots (called wheals) form, indicating an allergy.
If the doctor thinks someone might be allergic to more than one thing — or if it’s not clear what’s triggering a person’s allergy — the allergist will probably skin test for several different allergens at the same time.
When a skin test shows up as positive with a certain food, that only means a person might be allergic to that food. In these cases, doctors may want to do additional testing.
To diagnose a food allergy for certain, an allergist might do a blood test in addition to skin testing. This involves taking a small blood sample to send to a laboratory for analysis. The lab checks the blood for IgE antibodies to specific foods. If enough IgE antibodies to a particular food are in the blood, it’s very likely that the person is allergic to it.
If the results of the skin and blood tests are still unclear, though, an allergist might do something called a food challenge. During this test, the person is given gradually increasing amounts of the potential food allergen to eat while the doctor watches for symptoms.
Skin tests may itch for a while. If your child undergoes one, the allergist might give you an antihistamine or steroid cream for your child to use after the test to lessen the itching.
Your eyes itch, your nose is running, you’re sneezing, and you’re covered in hives. The enemy known as allergies has struck again.
Hives are red, itchy blotches that can appear because of an allergic reaction. Find out more in this article for kids.
Taking precautions and carrying meds are just part of normal life for someone who has a food allergy. Here are some tips on how to make travel also feel perfectly routine.
Although food allergies are more common than ever, people who have them may feel different or embarrassed. A good friend can really help.
Milk is in all kinds of foods, even things like baked goods. So what should a person who’s allergic to milk do?
A person with severe allergies can be at risk for a sudden, serious allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. This reaction can seem scary, but the good news is it can be treated.
Doctors are diagnosing more and more people with food allergies. Knowing what to expect and how to deal with food allergies can make a big difference in preventing serious illness.
Struggling with strawberries? Petrified of peanuts? Sorry you ate shellfish? Maybe you have a food allergy. Find out more in this article for kids.
Living with an egg allergy means you have to be aware of what you’re eating and read food labels carefully. Here are some tips for teens who have an egg allergy.
A growing number of kids are allergic to nuts and peanuts. Find out more about this problem and how allergic kids can stay healthy.
Doctors use several different types of allergy tests, depending on what a person may be allergic to. Find out what to expect from allergy tests.
Babies sometimes have an allergic reaction to eggs. If that happens, they can’t eat eggs for a while. But the good news is that most kids outgrow this allergy by age 5.
Find more than 30 articles in English and Spanish about all aspects of food allergies in children.
Food labels can help you spot allergens your child must avoid. Find out more.
Food allergies and food intolerances, like lactose intolerance, are not the same. Find out more.
With preparation and education, a child with a food allergy can stay safe at school.
Food allergies can cause serious and even deadly reactions in kids, so it’s important to know how to feed a child with food allergies and to prevent reactions.
A scratch or skin prick test is a common way doctors find out more about a person’s allergies.
Find out what the experts have to say.
Millions of Americans, including many kids, have an allergy. Find out how allergies are diagnosed and how to keep them under control.
Milk allergy can cause serious reactions. Find out how to keep kids safe.
Kids with severe allergies can be at risk for a sudden, serious allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. The good news is that when treated properly, anaphylaxis can be managed.
Fish allergy can cause a serious reaction. Find out how to keep kids safe.
Many kids battle allergies year-round, and some can’t control their symptoms with medications. For them, allergy shots (or allergen immunotherapy) can help.
If your child is allergic to nuts or peanuts, it’s essential to learn what foods might contain them and how to avoid them.
Almost all infants are fussy at times. But some are very fussy because they have an allergy to the protein in cow’s milk, which is the basis for most commercial baby formulas.
Helping your child manage an egg allergy means reading food labels carefully, being aware of what he or she eats, and carrying the right medicines in case of an allergic reaction.
Has your child broken out in welts? It could be a case of the hives. Learn how to soothe itchy bumps and help your child feel better.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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