More than 50 million Americans, including many children, have at least one type of food allergy. At Allergy and Asthma Specialists of Greater Washington, diagnostic tests like oral food challenges are used to identify which foods trigger your food allergies. The leading allergists in Fairfax, Gainesville, Vienna, Warrenton, Culpeper, and Front Royal, Virginia offer customized oral food challenges to identify your specific allergy in a safe and controlled environment. Schedule your appointment by calling the most convenient clinic location for you or requesting an appointment online.
An oral food challenge is a test used to diagnose specific food allergies.
There are three kinds of oral food challenges: double-blind placebo-controlled, single-blind, and open. The blind tests ensure that you don’t know if the product you’re eating has an allergen in it so that your nerves or psychosomatic response doesn’t trigger a false reaction.
During a double-blind oral food challenge, you consume both suspected allergen food products and placebos.
For example, if you’re being tested for a milk allergy, you may receive a piece of hamburger with milk powder in it and a bit of hamburger that looks the same but doesn’t have the added dairy with hours in between.
Neither you nor your doctor will know if you’re being given an allergen or a placebo.
Your doctor will know if you’re consuming an allergen or a placebo during a single-blind food challenge. Otherwise, the test is similar to the double-blind oral food challenge. You consume different products and wait to see if an allergic response develops.
Both you and your allergist will know what you’re eating and whether or not it contains a suspected allergen. This form of the test is used when you're unlikely to have a nervous response to the test that could alter your results.
During an oral food challenge, you are supervised by your allergist at the Allergy and Asthma Specialists of Greater Washington while you consume a small amount of a suspected allergen and wait to see if you have an allergic reaction. Then you consume a slightly larger amount of the same food.
You repeat the process until you have a reaction or it’s clear that you’re not allergic to the product. Your vital signs are monitored throughout the process while your allergist checks for signs of an allergic response.
Your doctor at the Allergy and Asthma Specialists of Greater Washington will give you specific instructions on fasting before your test. Your doctor provides advice on whether you need to stop taking any medications before the challenge.
For example, you may need to avoid antihistamines since they could interfere with your results.
Yes, oral food challenges are safe for both adults and children. You’re closely monitored throughout the challenge, and if you develop a severe allergic reaction, your doctor can take immediate action.
Call or request an appointment online today to learn more about oral food challenges.