Oral Food Challenge

Food allergies often cause immense stress about what’s being served at home, school, and social functions. Food avoidance can prove so challenging that a proper diagnosis is crucial. Blood tests and skin tests provide helpful diagnostic information, but a positive result on either of these is not considered definitive. Oral food challenges are widely regarded as the “gold standard” for accurate food allergy diagnosis.

Diagnosis & Treatment Options

When an allergist feels that other testing has been inconclusive or a person may have outgrown a food allergy, an oral food challenge will be recommended. During this testing, you will ingest a small amount of the possible allergen and be observed for signs of adverse reaction. If no symptoms appear, you will receive larger doses until an allergy can be ruled out.

If you begin to have an adverse reaction such as flushing or hives, the food challenge will stop, and you will receive medication for symptoms if needed. Very rarely, a serious anaphylactic reaction results, which is why this challenge must occur under medical supervision of a Greater Austin Allergy specialist.

Patients undergoing an oral food challenge must be in good health. The test should be postponed if you are just recovering from an illness, show signs of coming down with one, or are having a flare-up of asthma, hay fever, or eczema. Any of these health issues could alter or mask test results. Additionally, your allergy specialist will let you know when to stop taking antihistamines before the challenge. If you have any in your system for the test, results will be inaccurate.

Regardless of the results, knowledge is power. If a food allergy is confirmed, your doctor will discuss food avoidance strategies and medication options. If no adverse reaction occurs, you can check this food off your avoidance list and expand your diet accordingly.

The physicians at Greater Austin Allergy have extensive training and experience with food allergy diagnosis and treatment. If you suspect food allergies or think an oral food challenge may provide the answer you seek, give us a call and schedule a consultation today.