Testing for food allergies is becoming more prevalent throughout the west. With research indicating it could be caused by a lack of exposure to allergens early enough in childhood. Reactions can be nasty and even life-threatening, which means that testing is more important than ever. The last thing you want is for your evening meal to end with a stressful trip to the hospital.
Allergy Testing Methods
There are a few methods to test for food allergies. The most common technique performed at your doctors will be the skin prick test. This consists of pricking your skin and exposing you to allergens. One at a time – to elicit a reaction. If a reaction occurs, you’ll be diagnosed with an allergy, after quickly being jabbed with an EpiPen.
Another method is a blood sample test. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a full-blown blood test like those done at the hospital. It could be a quick prick of the skin with a few drops of blood led into the vial.
Does Allergy Testing Hurt?
The blood test is arguably the least painful method to test for food allergies, while still being the most accurate and scientifically validated. With one quick prick of the skin – similar to if you’ve ever pricked yourself with a pin. It’s preferable to the skin prick test (despite a similar method of taking the sample) as only one prick is required to be tested against various allergens.
Is Allergy Testing Dangerous?
There is the argument against the skin prick test due to it being potentially hazardous. If an allergy is present, then the patient is likely to experience an adverse and potentially dangerous reaction. Although, the pre-emptive EpiPen is considered a reasonable safety measure should this occur.
The blood sample test is far less risky, as the patient never comes into contact with the allergens themselves. There is only a mild sting upon piercing the skin to obtain the blood sample, and thoroughly cleaning the area afterwards minimises the risk of infection.
Where to Get Testing for Food Allergies?
For food allergy testing, you can either order a home test or go to your doctor to request a check. Depending on your symptoms and doctor, they may be happy to have you tested, or not see it as necessary. Ordering a test would allow you to be tested against many allergens without having to justify a case for said tests to the doctor.
Allergy testing is more crucial than ever as we become more global and expand our diets. We’re exposing ourselves to all kinds of different foods, meaning more risk of finding an allergy. Getting tested for food allergies should be at the centre of keeping ourselves safe and avoiding any nasty surprises.