FOOD ALLERGY TESTING
If there is a reasonable suspicion of food allergy, the first step in confirming the diagnosis is allergy skin testing to the suspected food(s).
A negative skin test result is highly accurate and can be used to reassure you that you are not allergic. On the other hand, a positive test does not confirm an allergy, but suggests that you may be allergic to the particular food.
The only completely objective test for validating a food allergy is an oral food challenge. In this test, patients ingest gradually increasing amounts of the suspect food every 20 minutes until they experience symptoms of an allergic reaction or they consume a normal serving of the food.
Done carefully and under physician supervision these tests are safe and very helpful in firmly making the diagnosis of a food allergy.
Surveys have shown the perception of food allergy is as high as 30%, when the reality is less than 10% of children have food allergy. The medical profession has contributed to this disconnect because our diagnostic testing is falsely positive 50% of the time. That’s correct, as many as half of the positive skin or blood tests for allergy don’t reflect true allergy. Evaluation by an Allergist who performs oral food challenges, the gold standard for confirming the diagnosis of food allergy, is essential to be sure that you do, or, more hopefully, do not have a food allergy.