The questionnaires you complete before your first visit, along with the your history and exam, will help your doctor determine which type of tests to order during your visit.
Skin testing will determine if you have inhalant allergies to common environmental items like dust, mold, pollens, and/or animal dander. These tests will be administered on your upper arm. These are not actual injections; a needle is used to administer allergen just under the top layer of skin. The feeling can be compared to that of a mosquito bite. For children, we have tools to help explain the process in a kid-friendly way and to ease the process.
A blood test may be done to measure specific levels of allergy antibodies to suspected allergens in your blood stream. A single blood draw can help determine food and environmental allergies. For those who are highly sensitive to skin testing, blood testing may be chosen as an alternative when appropriate.
Breathing or lung capacity tests may be done if you have a history of asthma or breathing difficulty.
Component-based allergy testing helps assess the level of reactivity to specific allergies and the likelihood of severe reactions. A few allergenic molecules, such as those in tree nuts, carry the potential to induce severe allergic reactions. We may use these tests for patients who are suspected of being highly reactive to foods, along with those who have strong sensitivities to dust mite, tree pollens, pets, egg, milk, wheat, peanut, soy, fish and shell fish. This diagnostic technique allows sublingual immunotherapy to be optimized by:
- Revealing the specific sensitizing source.
- Defining markers with risk of severe allergic reactions.
- Resolving cross-reactivity among allergens.
Graded Oral Food Challenges (GOFC) are the “gold standard” for diagnosing specific food allergies or the absence thereof. If your provider determines that you are a candidate based on your history, exam, testing and previous treatment, he or she may recommend a GOFC. The Graded Oral Food Challenge is a valuable tool for a patient and family to help answer questions about their treatment progress, whether avoidance of foods is necessary or if a food can be reintroduced into the diet in a safe manner.
The challenge will help your doctor to determine how allergic you may be to a specific food, to evaluate the effectiveness of sublingual immunotherapy treatment, or to determine if you/your child has outgrown a food allergy. The challenge also provides the diagnostic information that allows your medical team to further modify your treatment.
During a challenge, we test only one food at a time, using a detailed protocol and designated food challenge suite that is closely monitored by a specially trained medical team. The specified food will be given in timed intervals at pre-calculated amounts.
Our challenge protocol integrates the best practices from leading food allergy centers that provide food challenges. Our team and facility are equipped with state-of-the art technology and training to address the many facets of food challenges in a safe, comfortable environment.
For details about the Graded Oral Food Challenge and whether you might be a candidate, please discuss with your provider at your next scheduled visit.