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To determine whether you are allergic, your doctor will administer one or more of several tests for food allergies. These tests vary in accuracy, but taken together with your suspected food allergy symptoms and medical history, can give your doctor an accurate idea of what you are allergic to, if anything.
Skin prick test: Usually performed on the back or the arm, the skin prick test can pinpoint an allergy to a certain food. In the test, the first layer of skin is pricked with a needle containing the food extract. When the test is checked 15 minutes later, doctors look for a reaction in the pricked area. The skin prick test can also test for allergies to plants, like ragweed, grass and trees.
Blood test (RAST test): The RAST test pinpoints the amount of IgE antibody in the blood. Manufactured to fight the allergens in food, the presence of IgE antibodies to certain foods indicates whether you are allergic to those foods.
Elimination diet: In this test, you will simply eliminate from your diet the foods your doctor suspects you may be allergic to. After about two weeks, you will resume eating the suspected foods, one at a time, monitoring how much you ate and any reaction you had. Keep in mind, however, that the elimination diet cannot be used if you had a severe reaction to any food.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|