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Allergy testing

My daughter has a couple of (known) food allergies, and I have some questions (which will be brought up at her doctor's appt. on Fri. as well, but would like some input in the meantime from anyone who's been through this): What all do they test for when doing allergy testing? Will it be pollen, dander, etc. in addition to food? Just foods she's already had a reaction to and maybe some common additional ones? And I know allergic reactions only occur after you've reached your threshold for a certain allergen, so will they be able to tell what she will be allergic to but hasn't reached her threshold level on yet, or only things she would have a reaction to now?

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Asked by DragonRiderMD at 5:41 PM on Apr. 21, 2010 in Kids' Health

Level 22 (14,603 Credits)
Answers (4)
  • When I had this done, the took a thing that could make multiple pricks on my back and put drops of allergens (dander, pollen, grass, etc) on it and pressed it on my back. They waited a little while and the bumps that were raised indicated an allergy. They are ulta-concentrated. So yes, they COULD DEFINITELY miss an allergy, especially since they only test for common things, and people can develop allergies over time.

    Answer by missbreezy214 at 5:50 PM on Apr. 21, 2010

  • It really depends on the type of test they do. My daughter gets blood draws but there is a scratch test too. I would call the doc and ask which test they plan to use.

    Answer by sk_tennyson at 7:01 PM on Apr. 21, 2010

  • In my experience, it varies by doctor, as well as by parent/patient. My daughter's allergist will limit testing to only suspect items unless we're dealing with an unknown or we specifically request something beyond what we suspect. DD's first reaction was to peanut butter. It's the only item we suspected and it was the only item we tested at her first visit. We were avoiding tree nuts as there's a strong risk of cross contamination and until DD could differentiate between them herself. Then she had a skin reaction to a body lotion with nut oils in it. Our next allergist visit we tested just for tree nuts - 8 in total. She reacted to 2. Our third annual visit I requested a test for shellfish and fin-fish as those were the only things we had not exposed her too yet. She test positive to three shellfish and a 'maybe' on one finned fish. That's all we've tested to date. (cont)

    Answer by ldmrmom at 10:44 AM on Apr. 22, 2010

  • The general rule of thumb is that reactions trump test results. Our allergist prefer to limit the amount of testing a child must endure if at all possible. He'll narrow the field to suspected items and only expand if those test prove inconclusive. I appreciate his approach.

    We have friends in our allergy support groups, however, who see doctor's who would rather run tests on the most frequent allergens. In other words, you may suspect two of the top 8 foods but the doctor will want to test for all 8 and then may decide it's worth ruling out a few others based on your conversations. He may decide it's worth checking environmental allergens too.


    Answer by ldmrmom at 10:50 AM on Apr. 22, 2010

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