Skin Testing for Food Allergies

Are you afraid that your child may have a food allergy? Don’t know the first step to take? We were referred to an allergist by our ER physician during our trip to the ER after my 10 month old son was eating scrambled eggs and started breaking out in hives and swelling. At that point in time, I knew nothing about food allergies.

Our allergist had both blood testing and skin testing done on Beau. I wasn’t concerned with the blood testing because it seemed like a simple process. Draw blood, test it, call me with results. Got it. But skin testing? I had heard some terrible stories from people who had this done (including my husband when he was a child) and it panicked me. I had no clue what they did or what type of reaction he would have to it.

Surprisingly, his doctors office made this process quite easy & painless (literally). Our allergist’s nurse was prepared and ready when we came in. She had 10 different food allergens on a block and a few extras ready to go. She put two pieces of medical tape down my son’s back with the names of the allergens written on them. Then, as I held Beau’s chest to mine while he sat in my lap, she pushed the block against his back and followed it up with the few extra allergens. He didn’t even flinch, much less likely cry! Now I’m not saying that this is completely painless or that every child will have the same reaction. I know every child is totally different! Trust me. Mine cries when you lay him down on the paper of the exam table at the doctor, but not when having blood drawn or needles pricked into his back. Weird.

Anyway, each of those needles that was pricked into my son contained small amounts of each allergen they were testing for. This made each of the allergens get into his skin, which in turn would show a reaction if there was an allergy. A long 20-30 minutes later (because I had to keep him from laying down or messing with the area) and we had results!

All medical tests have possible risks, so please make sure you have this done in a professional’s office who is very experienced. Your child could have allergy symptoms when being tested and you want to make sure you’re in a medical office with doctors who are educated in allergies, just in case. I know I’m talking about children here, since that’s what my website is geared towards, but allergy skin testing can be done at any age, child or adult.

Also, there is another type of allergy skin testing that some doctors use. In this testing, they inject small amount of allergens under the skin on the arm to see how it reacts. With either test, redness, itchiness, and swelling are all possible side effects. These can happen within minutes or hours after the testing is done.

An important thing to know… Benadryl and other antihistamines can change the results of these tests. Our doctor had to delay our tests because my son had taken Benadryl within the past couple days. They had us wait 7+ days before we came in for skin testing to make sure that the antihistamine was no longer in his system. Speak with your doctor’s office and make sure you know what they suggest and be sure you know what you can and can’t do before your appointment.

Beau-Egg-Allergy-Skin-Test                             Beau-Skin-Test-Egg-Allergy

As I have stated before, I am a mother not a physician or medical professional. Please get a referral to a good allergist for medical opinions and advice. I am simply sharing my story and information I’ve learned along the way!