Diagnosis and testing

Classical allergies can be diagnosed using several reliable proven medical tests but as hypersensitivity reactions to food can be caused by a number of things other than allergies, a certain amount of detective work may be needed. Your doctor will also carry out a physical examination, ask about your family's medical history and your own "food history", and may ask you to keep a food and symptom diary for a period of time.


Anaphylaxis is an extreme allergic reaction that is potentially life-threatening. Food triggers differ in adults and children but include: peanuts, tree nuts (such as almonds, walnuts, cashews, and Brazils), sesame, fish, shellfish, dairy products, and eggs. other causes include wasp or bee stings, natural latex (rubber), penicillin, or any other drug or injection.

initial signs of anaphylaxis usually start within seconds of contact with the allergen and may include:

• generalized flushing of the skin on face and body

nettle rash (hives) anywhere on the body

• wheezing, chest tightness, trouble in breathing

• sense of impending doom

• swelling of throat and mouth

• difficulty in swallowing or speaking

• alterations in heart rate

• severe asthma

• abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea

• sudden feeling of weakness (drop in blood pressure)

• collapse and loss of consciousness

• floppiness, especially in children

Anaphylaxis is always an emergency so if you or someone else is having an attack, dial 999 for emergency help or get someone else to do it for you. if you have anaphylactic reactions, you will always need to be on the lookout for whatever triggers them and carry pre-loaded epinephrine (adrenaline) injection kits. These are used at the first sign of an attack. Even if you then recover, you still need to go to hospital in an ambulance.

▼ An emergency kit for a person at risk of serious allergic reactions may include prescribed medicine, an inhaler, and an epinephrine injection pen. The MedicAlert® bracelet is to be worn at all times.

Further specific tests to reach final diagnosis of food allergy and to identify which food(s) and other substances you react to include:

• A clear history of your allergic response to food, which can be enough to diagnose an allergy.

• Skin prick tests, which can diagnose allergies to foods, pollens, and house dust mites among others. They help establish what you might be allergic to as well as rule out substances.

• A blood specific IgE (RAST) test, which involves taking a blood sample for laboratory analysis. The antibodies produced in the blood are measured to establish the likelihood of an allergic reaction. Like most tests it has false positives and negatives.

• Patch tests - these involve applying test substances to the skin under adhesive tape, which is left in place for 48 hours.These tests are used to diagnose allergic contact dermatitis (inflammation of the skin) and some delayed allergic reactions to food. They need to be interpreted by an experienced dermatologist or allergist.

• A food challenge is occasionally conducted to confirm or diagnose an allergy or to test if someone has grown out of it. The suspected allergen is given to the patient in controlled dosages in hospital under medical supervision.

Because people grow out of some allergies, typically milk and egg, children should be tested regularly to see whether they are still allergic. By age five, about 80 per cent grow out of milk allergies; about 50 per cent out of egg allergies, and about 20 per cent out of peanut allergies.

Was this article helpful?

0 0
Allergic To Everything

Allergic To Everything

The human body And Todays chemical infested world. Here is a news flash You are not allergic to pollen, pet dander, or whatever it is that makes your body revolt Rather, your body just can not handle that one thing, what ever it is, anymore, due to the massive barrage of toxic chemicals you and everyone else are ingesting every single day.

Get My Free Audio and Ebook

Post a comment