Which food sensitivity test is best?
The “gold standard” of identifying a food sensitivity is known as an elimination diet, which is then followed by what is known as an “oral challenge” where you eat the eliminated foods one at a time following a period of avoiding them to determine your reaction to them. Ideally, this is done without you knowing what is being tested. It is incredibly important that you follow an elimination diet before you undergo the oral challenge, as otherwise your symptoms to a particular food antigen may be masked or difficult to detect.
When you begin to eliminate a food that has been a problem from your diet, it is possible that you may experience temporary withdrawal symptoms. If this occurs, it is important that you follow an elimination diet for approximately two weeks to allow for these symptoms to clear up before you are ready to begin testing different foods in an oral challenge.
Before you begin an elimination diet, your allergist may first have you undergo what is known as a food sensitivity test to help guide your elimination diet, but this is not a universal step for testing for food sensitivities or allergies.
How do you treat an allergic reaction to food?
The severity of your allergic reaction to a food antigen will determine what treatment options would work best for you and your allergic reactions. Additionally, food allergy symptoms can range from being mild to very severe and your reaction may vary from one exposure to another; meaning that while your first reaction may be mild, it can later cause far more severe symptoms.
Anaphylaxis is the most severe allergic reaction, which can impair your ability to breathe, cause your blood pressure to drop dramatically, and have negative affects on your heart rate. Anaphylaxis can be fatal and must be promptly treated initially with a injected dose of epinephrine – a form of adrenaline – and a call to your local emergency services, because epinephrine is only a temporary halt to the allergic reaction and you will require further medical treatment.
The best way to avoid an allergic reaction to food is to avoid the food entirely. Once a food antigen has been identified, it is important that you completely eliminate it in all forms from your diet and take steps to ensure that you are not exposed to it when out in public.
How long does a food allergy last in your system?
Typically, an allergic reaction will begin either within two hours or minutes of ingestion – although in rare cases, they may be delayed for four hours or longer. Additionally, the response to ingesting a food allergy can last for up to forty-eight hours or even for several days, which can make identifying the offending antigen difficult. Even if your response to a food antigen is delayed, it may still be serious and require medical attention or intervention – although with severe food allergies, the response is usually immediate upon ingestion of the offending antigen.
If you have any questions or concerns about a possible or existing food sensitivity or allergy, then we here at Piniella Asthma and Allergy are here to help. To book an appointment with one of our allergy specialists, please give us a call at (305) 515-5922 or go online to our website to request an appointment.