If you had a food allergy as a child, you may have outgrown it as an adult. A new allergy test can help you determine if you still have the same allergy as an adult.
The food challenge test
The food challenge test can help validate the continuing existence and severity of a food allergy.
Food allergies can evolve over time. Many food allergies noted during childhood disappear or decrease in adulthood. But foods causing allergic reactions are immediately eliminated from diets, so there is little opportunity to discover if you still have the allergy. In the meantime, you may have completely changed your lifestyle to work around a restrictive diet. So if you noted a food allergy years ago and haven’t eaten that food since, a food challenge test can give you a definite answer to whether you still have that allergy.
Even if your food allergy is minor and not life altering, the food challenge can be key in a future diagnosis. Just like some allergies disappear, we also develop new ones. If you no longer have an allergic reaction to a food, it can be ruled out as a cause for similar symptoms.
Food allergies are hard to diagnose, and even harder when they disappear or develop over the course of our lives. Even the first line of allergy diagnosis, the skin prick and blood prick tests, give somewhat ambiguous results because they only test if there is a chance of allergy to a food. They do not offer definite answers on existence and severity of the food allergy.
The food challenge test takes several hours and occurs under medical staff supervision with immediate treatment if there is an allergic reaction. The patient is given a small amount of the suspected food, monitored for reaction, and then given another larger dose of the food, and again monitored for reaction. During the course of this test, your reactions or lack of to certain doses of the suspected food help determine if you are allergic to that food and how much of that food you have to ingest before you have an allergic reaction.