The first time that you have an allergic reaction, it can feel overwhelming. Whether it’s just the sniffles or full-blown anaphylaxis, finding out that you have a food allergy means that you need to take a look at your life and make necessary changes to keep yourself safe. One of those things you’ll need to make time for is an allergen test. But what are your options? Do you know what one is going to work best for you? There’s no “one size fits all” with allergies, which is all the more reason to have a few options for a test.
Options for an allergen test
- Blood sample test: This is a test that you can do right from the comfort of your own home. It is done through a mail-order kit that will deliver the sample kit with instructions right to your doorstep so that you can do it right from home at 2 am in your jammies (if you want). This uses finger-prick blood samples in a lab setting, once you send it back, to test against hundreds of food allergens. Your results are emailed to you along with a guide to help you eliminate your allergens from your diet.
- Skin prick test: The typical standard option, a skin prick test involves pricking the skin with a special needle that will deposit a bit of the suspected allergen under the skin. The allergen will then create a welt that the clinician can match to the grid of allergens on your skin, and that will determine your allergies. When it comes to food allergies, in particular, this isn’t the use method as it can offer false positives and negatives. It can be a great starting point, though, or offer you results for non-food allergies.
- Oral test: It’s done in a medical setting, this test is done by eating small to large amounts of the suspected allergen over the span of a few hours and monitoring test results on a screen.
This can be helpful with food allergens because you’re literally eating the problem food in a safe medical setting with all of the right intervention tools.
- Combination testing: Thought to be the ideal option for allergen testing with foods, is to choose two of these methods and then do one followed by the other — For example, the skin prick test followed by a blood sample test. The double confirmation can be great for your overall comfort, and it also helps confirm the allergy itself. This is often recommended for food allergies since they’re so important to get right the first time!
Maybe one of these options for an allergen test is jumping out at you or sounds like the best method for you. Perhaps you like the thought of trying a combination design. However, you think it best for you, make a plan to order a testing kit or to set up an oral or skin prick test appointment so that you can get the process started and get your food-related life back on track.