Our Austin allergists primarily use challenge testing for patients with food allergies
Our Austin allergists sometimes employ challenge testing when diagnosing patients with allergies, particularly with food allergies or allergies to medications. During challenge testing, a small amount of the suspected allergen is ingested by the patient while under medical supervision.
It is imperative that challenge testing is fully supervised by a specially trained physician, like our Austin allergists, who has experience with administering this type of allergy testing.
Identifying a food allergy
True food allergies occur in people with oversensitive immune responses. In these people, the body reacts to certain foods as allergens by releasing histamines that cause allergy symptoms, most often about within after the food is eaten. Symptoms may include:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Swelling in the tongue, lips or face
- A shortness of breath
- Stomach pain, cramps, nausea or vomiting
- Itchy eyes, mouth, throat, skin or other area of the body
- Congested or runny nose
While true food allergies are not common, some people experience food intolerance, which can cause symptoms such as stomach pain, cramps, diarrhea, gas, bloating and heartburn.
Another type of food allergy is an oral allergy that primarily affects the tongue and the mouth. Oral allergies are commonly caused by raw apples, melons or pineapple.
Challenge testing for food and other allergies
If our Austin allergists decide that challenge testing is necessary to diagnose your allergies or to see if you have outgrown certain allergies, rest assured that your test will be supervised by our highly trained and experienced Austin allergy doctors.
- During challenge testing, we start with a small amount of the food or substance that you may be allergic to that is causing your symptoms.
- After you have ingested the allergen, we will observe you to see if it has triggered any symptoms.
- If we do not note any symptoms, we may administer higher amounts of the allergens, over several hours.
- When a reaction is triggered, we stop testing.
In most cases, the reactions are not severe; instead, challenge testing usually triggers mild symptoms such as hives or flushed skin. If a severe reaction should occur, our Austin allergists will administer treatment.
If food allergies are confirmed, our Austin allergists will devise an individualized treatment plan. If you suspect that you have food allergies or other allergies, please don’t attempt to determine what they are on your own. See an expert like our Austin allergists. Contact us for more information.