Patients may be asked to undergo a food challenge if blood tests and skin prick tests don’t yield a definitive diagnosis, or if the history of allergy is highly questionable. Oral Food Challenges (OFC) are the gold standard for ruling out a food allergy. Food challenges have the potential to cause a serious reaction in patients, which is why it’s critical that these tests are only performed by experienced medical staff at a medical facility. There are comprehensive guidelines that the medical community has created for food allergy testing.
In a food challenge, an allergist will provide the patient food in controlled doses, beginning with small amounts. The patient is observed after each dose for any signs of an allergic reaction. If no symptoms are present, the patient will receive increasingly larger doses of the food with subsequent monitoring. If a patient shows signs of an allergic reaction, the food challenge stops and the patient will be given medication to relieve symptoms. If there are no symptoms during the food challenge, that particular food is ruled out as an allergy. If your allergist confirms a true food allergy, they will prescribe any necessary medications and discuss food safety and food avoidance techniques.