More than 50 million Americans have an allergy of some kind. You probably know one of those people or are one yourself. Food allergies are estimated to affect 4% – 6% of children and 4% of adults, according to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.
Food allergy symptoms are most common in babies and children, but they can appear at any age. You can even develop an allergy to foods you have eaten for years with no problems. Do you suspect you’re suffering from a food allergy? An allergist can evaluate your symptoms and determine the source.
Diagnosing Food Allergies
Tests involved for Dust Allergy
Having a food allergy means a reaction will take place every time trigger food is eaten. Such reactions mostly vary from one person to another and one might not have the same symptoms during every reaction. Reactions caused due to food allergy mostly affects the skin, respiratory tract, cardiovascular system and gastrointestinal tract. It is always advisable for people having a food allergy to consult a top allergist and to be properly counselled about the risk of anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is a fatal life-threatening reaction. It can occur in a matter of a few seconds or minutes after being exposed to something you are allergic to. Such reactions can be treated with epinephrine injection along with other medication. It relaxes muscles in the airway and tightens the blood vessels.
These food allergies can develop at any age but mostly it appears in childhood. In case you think you have a food allergy, contact a top allergist, who can use different tests along with your medical history to determine if a food allergy exists.
The common questions which an allergist will ask to make a diagnosis are:-
What and how much you ate
How long it took for symptoms to develop
What symptoms you experienced and how long they lasted
After this, your allergist may ask you to get some tests done like skin tests/blood tests to determine whether food-specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies are present in your body or not.
Skin-prick test- During skin prick test a small amount of liquid containing the allergen is placed on the skin of either your arms or back. Then your skin is pricked to let the liquid seep under the skin. These tests are usually fast and produce results in about 20 minutes. The test is considered positive if a bump, more like a mosquito bite develops at the site where the allergen was placed. You will get another similar skin prick, this time without allergen which ideally should not provoke a reaction. It will be used to compare both the test sites.
Blood tests- Blood tests are not as accurate as skin tests are. During blood tests, the amount of IgE antibody to the specific food(s) present in your body is measured. These tests take about a week to produce results and are reported as a numerical value. These results will be used by your allergist to make a diagnosis. It is important to note that a positive value doesn’t guarantee the presence of food allergy but it is useful to rule out the possibility if the results are negative.
Oral Food Challenge- Your allergist might recommend you to get an oral food challenge which is considered the best and most accurate way to find out if the food allergy exists or not. An oral food challenge is conducted under strict medical supervision where the patient is fed tiny amounts of food which triggers the reaction. It is followed by observing the subject for a few hours. a few hours of observation to see if a reaction occurs. This test is helpful when the patient history is unclear or if the skin or blood tests are inconclusive. It also can be used to determine if an allergy has been outgrown.
Because of the possibility of a severe reaction, an oral food challenge should be conducted only by experienced allergists in a doctor’s office or at a food challenge centre, with emergency medication and equipment on hand.
If you think that you are suffering from food allergy or you have any of these symptoms. Please consult a good allergist near you. British Allergy Clinic provides top quality allergy services in London, Birmingham, Nottingham, Leicester and video consultations are also available. You can directly call us at +44 (0) 7587840618 or fill this form.