Food Allergies: To Test or Not to Test

From Drugs.com - February 14, 2018

Food Allergies: To Test or Not to Test

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 14, 2018 -- About 5 percent of American children and 4 percent of adults have a food allergy, but many more are getting unnecessary testing.

Specific blood and skin prick tests can help detect food allergies. But the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases recommends them only for people who have had immediate allergic reactions, have a certain type of inflammation of the esophagus, or have moderate to severe atopic dermatitis, which appears as a skin rash.

Testing is not warranted for conditions like hay fever, mild dermatitis and hives that have no apparent cause.

If you suspect a food allergy, keep a log with these details about each food in question:

Know the most common food allergens:

Keep in mind that the only way to conclusively diagnose a food allergy is with an oral food challenge, a test that can put you at risk for a severe allergic reaction. So it must be done by an experienced health care professional.


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