Your provider may have decided that food allergy testing is in your best interest to better guide you on diet to improve or even alleviate your symptoms by identifying foods that you are allergic to. By identifying potential food allergens, diet changes can be made to improve our physical and mental health.
What to Expect
A medical assistant will bring you back to the room and review briefly your medical information, update your weight and other vital signs. The medical assistant will also ensure your have followed the recommendations of avoiding certain medications that can interfere with allergy testing. This medication list can be found below, but upon scheduling your allergy testing appointment, the receptionist provided you with a copy. You will be asked to read and sign a waiver stating you understand the risk associated with food allergy testing. Please ask any questions you may have. Then one of our providers will come and discuss with you and your child the process of allergy testing. They will discuss how allergy testing is done and what to expect during the test.
How is Food Allergy Testing Done?
In a skin scratch test, a very small drop of a liquid food extract is placed on the skin with a light prick. The test is typically completed on the back while the patient lies on the bed on their stomach. This is a safe test and the medical assistant does wear gloves. After the light pricking is done, which only takes seconds, patient and caregiver will stay in the room for 15 minutes to allow successful time for the test to be read accurately. The medical assistant will check on you during the test to make sure you and your child is comfortable.
It is recommended that you bring some of the patient’s favorite items. We encourage books, toys, or an electronic device.
Reading the Test
After 15-20 minutes the medical assistant will return to the room to measure the skin’s reaction to the test. Positive reactions may look similar to mosquito bite; a raised bump with redness around it. The provider will return to the room to discuss your results and provide you with your own copy.
It is recommended that food allergens found on the skin scratch test be removed or avoided from you diet. The results of the test will be sent to your ordering GI Provider and you will follow up with them to further guide diet recommendations, including when reintroduction of foods is appropriate.
The provider may decide that an Epi-Pen would be appropriate for your child in the event of anaphylactic reaction. The prescription will be sent to your pharmacy and you and your child will be provided hands on education on the use of an Epi-Pen.
Medications NOT to take before your allergy scratch testing
- No prescription or over the counter oral antihistamines should be used 5 days prior to scheduled skin testing. These include cold tablets, sinus tablets, hay fever medications, or oral treatments for itchy skin, over the counter allergy medications, such as Claritin (loratadine), Zyrtec (cetirizine), Allegra (fexofenadine), Benedryl (diphenhydramine), Periactin (cyproheptadine) and many others. If you have any questions whether or not you are using an antihistamine, please ask the nurse or the doctor. In some instances a longer period of time off these medications may be necessary.
- Nasal and eye antihistamine medications should be stopped 2 days prior to your scheduled skin testing. These include Patanase, Pataday, Astepro, Optivar, and Astelin. In some instances a longer period of time off these medications may be necessary. If you have any questions whether or not you are using an antihistamine, please ask the nurse or the doctor.
- Oral H2 blockers, including Zantac (ranitidine), Pepcid (famotidine), Axid (nizatidine), and Tagamet (cimetidine), should be stopped 2 days prior to your scheduled skin testing. Proton pump inhibitors such as Prevacid (lansoprazole), Prilosec (omeprazole), Protonix (pantoprazole), and Nexium (esomeprazole) do not need to be stopped for the skin testing.
- Medications such as over the counter sleeping medications (e.g. Tylenol PM) and other prescribed drugs, such as amytriptyline hydrochloride (Elavil), hydroxyzine (Atarax), doxepin (Sinequan), and imipramine (Tofranil) have antihistaminic activity and should be discontinued at least 2 weeks prior to receiving skin test after consultation with your physician. Please make the doctor or nurse aware of the fact that you are taking these medications so that you may be advised as to how long prior to testing you should stop taking them.
- No oral corticosteroids, including Prednisone and Prednisolone, should be used 5 days prior to scheduled skin testing. Inhaled corticosteroids, including inhaled and swallowed Flovent, do not need to be stopped for the skin testing.
- If you are taking any of the above medications for chronic medical conditions and you have concerns about stopping the medications for any period of time, please contact the prescribing doctor’s office for further information.
Medications that YOU MAY take before your allergy scratch testing
- You may continue to use your intranasal allergy sprays such as Flonase Rhinocort, Nasonex, Nasacort. Omnaris, Veramyst and Nasarel.
- Asthma inhalers (inhaled steroids and bronchodilators), leukotriene antagonist s (e.g. Singulair, Accolate) and oral theophylline (Theo-Dur, T-Phyl, Uniphyl, Theo-24, etc.) do not interfere with skin testing and should be used as prescribed.
- Most drugs do not interfere with skin testing but make certain that your physician and nurse know about every drug you are taking (bring a list if necessary).