Testing For Food Allergies. Suspected food allergies should always be evaluated, diagnosed, and treated by a qualified medical professional, such as a board-certified allergist. Your primary care provider may refer you to an allergist. You may also search the physician directory maintained by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.
Food allergy symptoms are caused by the interaction between a food allergen and an antibody known as IgE (immunoglobulin E). To diagnose a food allergy, your allergist may use a skin prick test (SPT) to measure the presence of IgE antibodies for the suspect food. SPTs are inexpensive, produce immediate results.
Your allergist may recommend allergy tests. This may include skin testing. In an allergy skin test, a very small drop of a liquid food extract, one for each food, is placed on the skin. The skin is then lightly pricked. This is safe and generally not painful. Within 15 to 20 minutes, a raised bump with redness around it. Diagnostic food allergy testing offers clues about the causes of symptoms, but it cannot determine whether someone has a food allergy with absolute certainty without a challenged study. Still, when a food allergy is suspected, it’s critically important to consult with an allergist who can determine which food allergy tests appropriate for you.