Food Allergy Testing Dallas - Food Sensitivity Testing | Dr. Barbara Baxter (2023)

Food Allergy Testing Dallas - Food Sensitivity Testing | Dr. Barbara Baxter (1)

Several years ago, an Atlanta mother wrote an article for CNN describing her then-four-year-old son Teddy’s food allergies. In the article, she explained how painstakingly vigilant she had to be in order to protect Teddy — who is allergic to milk, eggs, wheat, peanuts and tree nuts — from kid-friendly foods like chicken nuggets, pizza and sandwiches. Even things like macaroni necklaces and Play-Doh are a threat to him. She has to keep a special supply of Teddy-safe snacks both at home and at his school, where she maintains constant communication with the staff about strategies to keep Teddy safe.Teddy’s case may be extreme, but it is not unique — nearly 15 million Americans are affected by food allergies.

What is a Food Allergy?

An allergic reaction to food occurs when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks a food or ingredient. Food allergies can occur at any age, but are most prevalent in babies and children. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that 4 to 6 percent of children in the United States are affected by food allergies, a 50 percent increase from the late 1990s. Nearly two children in every classroom have a food allergy, according to the Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) group.

Some of Dr. Baxter’s patients are confident of the food(s) that cause an allergic reaction; for example, they break out into hives or their face swells immediately after eating shellfish. Other patients are unsure of the exact food causing allergy-like symptoms.

What Are the Most Common Food Allergies?

According to experts, the eight most common food allergies are:

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  • Milk
  • Egg
  • Wheat
  • Soy
  • Peanuts
  • Tree nuts
  • Shellfish
  • Fish

The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology notes certain allergies (e.g., milk, eggs and soy) may disappear over time, while others (e.g., nuts and fish) are more likely to last a lifetime.

Food Allergy Symptoms: Mild to Life-Threatening

Food allergy symptoms may be mild (e.g., itchy mouth) or potentially deadly (e.g., anaphylaxis). FARE has reported that food allergy reactions are responsible for more than 200,000 emergency department visits every year.

Food allergy symptoms include itching, sneezing, runny nose, abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, eczema, hives and swelling of the lips/mouth (also referred to as oral allergy syndrome when it occurs as the only symptom). Another food allergy event is feeling like food is stuck in the esophagus during swallowing, which could be indicative of a condition called eosinophilic esophagitis.

Food Allergy Diagnosis in Dallas

It is important that those suffering from allergy symptoms avoid self-diagnosis. Many patients who self-diagnose end up restricting their diets unnecessarily, which can lead to nutritional deficiencies or cause them to overlook other possible food disorders they may be suffering from. Food allergies should be diagnosed by an experienced allergist like Dr. Baxter, who has years of clinical experience and uses state-of-the-art diagnostic tools.

When diagnosing a food allergy, Dallas allergy doctor Barbara Baxter first takes a complete and detailed medical history. She asks the patient questions such as:

  • What symptoms do you experience after eating the food?
  • How long after eating the food do the symptoms occur?
  • How much of the food do you typically consume?
  • How often have you experienced the allergic reaction?
  • Have you had any medical treatment for this?
  • Does your family have a history of food allergies?

After discussing food allergy symptoms and possible triggers in greater detail, Dr. Baxter will order proven diagnostic testing to confirm the food allergy.

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The Prick Test

A standard method for allergy skin testing, prick skin tests are quick, convenient and easy to use. A small amount of the suspected allergen is placed on top of the skin surface, and skin under the fluid is pricked in the center; if a raised bump develops, this signals an allergic reaction. All the desired tests can be administered in just a minute or two, with results ready in 10-15 minutes. You will receive a photograph of your skin reactions when the results are complete.

ImmunoCAP Blood Test

The ImmunoCAP blood test identifies specific allergen sensitivities by measuring the amount of allergy-type antibodies (immunoglobulin E or IgE) in the bloodstream. Highly accurate and reliable, the ImmunoCAP can be used alone or in combination with another test, and can sometimes pick up a reaction that fails to cause a skin-test positive. It can also be used for patients who are unable to successfully wean off their antihistamines in order to have a skin test.

Patch Test

Unlike the Multi-Test and ImmunoCAP blood tests, which evaluate immediate allergic reactions, the patch test evaluates delayed allergic reactions. The patch test involves placing a food patch test panel containing small amounts of the suspected food allergens on the patient’s back. Dr. Baxter removes the patches after 48 hours and evaluates the patient for any reaction; she usually also evaluates the patient after 96 hours. Unlike reactions to prick skin tests, patch test positives usually persist for several days.

Elimination & Challenge Method

Either before or after skin or blood testing, an important way Dr. Baxter tests for food allergies is by asking the patient to eliminate the suspected food for one to two weeks, and then consume the food (if the reaction was not dangerous) to see if the suspected symptoms clear up and then return. If symptoms decrease or disappear during the elimination period of time, it’s very likely the food is causing an allergy.

Dr. Baxter combines the information gleaned from the patient’s medical history, along with the test results, to make an educated diagnosis. Then, she works with the patient to see if the response to treatment shows the diagnosis is correct.

Food Allergy Treatment Options

There are no cures for food allergies; however, there are ways to manage life with a food allergy, get the proper nutrition and avoid allergic reactions.

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In cases where a specific food has caused a life-threatening reaction, the patient must diligently avoid the suspected allergen. This requires checking the ingredient labels of food products, learning other names for the foods that cause symptoms, and carrying an EpiPen in case of accidental exposure and a systemic reaction.

If history suggests that a food has caused mild symptoms, it may be helpful to pre-medicate with Benadryl or a less sedating antihistamine before eating a meal that contains the allergen.

Oral Immunotherapy

Oral immunotherapy (OIT) is an up-and-coming treatment option which desensitizes the body to allergens. OIT patients start by consuming the largest serving of the triggering food that they can tolerate (sometimes as small as a tiny fraction of one drop of milk), and gradually increasing the serving until they’ve reached a meal-sized portion — for example, a glass of milk or a whole egg. It usually takes between three months and a year for patients to reach the right maintenance dose. At this point, the patient must eat the food every day so the body can maintain its tolerance. OIT is not yet currently approved for general use.

Schedule A Food Allergy Test

If you are experiencing symptoms that you believe are related to a food allergy, Dr. Barbara Baxter is here to help. Dr. Baxter is board-certified in allergy-immunology and has been providing patients with accurate food allergy diagnoses for over 30 years. To learn more, schedule a consultation today at our food allergy testing center in Dallas.

“Dr. Baxter is not only an expert on allergies and asthma, but she’s kind, thoughtful and spends an incredible amount of time with each patient.” – HeathGrades Review, October 2018

Food Allergy Testing Dallas - Food Sensitivity Testing | Dr. Barbara Baxter (2)

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by Barbara Stark Baxter MD

Internal Medicine & Allergy Specialist

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FAQs

Do doctors recommend food sensitivity tests? ›

It is generally recommended to only test for food sensitivities or intolerances after you have experienced symptoms of a potential problem. Some common testings include gluten and lactose intolerance testing. If you haven't had symptoms, food sensitivity testing is likely to have more downsides than benefits.

Are there any legitimate food sensitivity tests? ›

IgE blood test

Both are more accurate at identifying food allergies than other food intolerance tests. Even with increased accuracy, testing needs to be followed by a medical history evaluation for accurate health recommendations to improve symptoms safely.

Are at-home food sensitivity tests reliable? ›

Currently, no at-home food sensitivity tests can diagnose food allergies. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology states that at-home food allergy tests may not provide accurate results. A person should follow up on any positive test results with a doctor.

Does insurance cover food sensitivity tests? ›

No. Most at-home food sensitivity tests are not covered by insurance.

Can bloodwork show food sensitivities? ›

A blood test can measure your immune system's response to particular foods by measuring the allergy-related antibody known as immunoglobulin E (IgE). For this test, a blood sample taken in your doctor's office is sent to a medical laboratory, where different foods can be tested.

What are the 3 most common food intolerances? ›

The three most common food intolerances are lactose, a sugar found in milk, casein, a protein found in milk, and gluten, a protein found in grains such as wheat, rye, and barley.

Why are food sensitivity tests unreliable? ›

IgG antibodies have not been shown to reliably identify either food allergies or sensitivities. Most people produce IgG antibodies after eating food. They are not specific to a person's sensitivity, although past or frequent exposure to a food may cause these levels to be higher.

Do food sensitivities cause inflammation? ›

What it is: When a certain food prompts the immune system to create internal inflammation, it can cause joint aches, chronic allergies and congestion, chronic skin rashes, bloating, constipation, diarrhea and migraine headaches.

What is the gold standard of food sensitivity testing? ›

To confirm your test results, your allergist may recommend an oral food challenge, which is the gold standard for food allergy diagnosis.

Can food sensitivities cause weight gain? ›

Food allergies and sensitivities can have a ripple effect when it comes to weight gain. While the allergy or sensitivity you experience does not directly cause your body to put on extra pounds, the reactions you experience may indirectly lead to weight gain.

Do Everlywell food sensitivity tests actually work? ›

Clinicians typically advise against this test because it can provide inaccurate and misleading information, causing people to cut out nutritious foods from their diet. There's limited evidence supporting the accuracy of IgG testing to check for food sensitivities.

Are sensitivity tests worth it? ›

"At home IgG food sensitivity tests are not currently recommended by the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology because the presence of the antibodies doesn't necessarily indicate a negative reaction to a food," says Claire Carlton, MS, RD, LD/N, a Honolulu–based registered dietitian nutritionist and ...

What is the difference between a food allergy and a food sensitivity? ›

A food sensitivity will not cause anaphylaxis, no matter how much of the offending food is consumed. Conversely, a food allergy triggers an immune system reaction, releasing antibodies (IgE) and causing the body to react as if to a threat — even small amounts may trigger serious or life-threatening reactions.

Can you test food sensitivities with hair? ›

Hair tests cannot diagnose a food allergy. They are typically advertised for food intolerances or sensitivities, claiming to assess IgG levels. However, IgG has not been proven to be directly connected with specific food sensitivities.

How much does a sensitivity test cost? ›

A skin allergy test can cost $60 to $300. A blood test can cost $200 to $1,000. A blood test for food allergies can cost hundreds of dollars, and testing for chronic hives can cost thousands of dollars. Your health insurance may not cover the costs of these tests.

Are food intolerance tests worth it? ›

There is no strong evidence that these tests accurately identify a food intolerance. In fact, allergy doctors have investigated these tests and they have shown that you're more likely to be told you have a positive food intolerance to a food you consumer regularly, not one you're intolerant too.

Is a food allergy test the same as a food sensitivity test? ›

In reality, both food allergy and food sensitivity testing typically refer to the same thing. But the approaches may vary. An allergist will usually test for allergies using skin-prick, oral-challenge or blood tests. These tests are typically used for the most common type of allergy called an IgE-mediated food allergy.

What antihistamine is best for food allergies? ›

Use an over-the-counter antihistamine, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) or loratadine (Claritin), to treat mild symptoms. Read and follow all instructions on the label. Mild symptoms include sneezing or an itchy or runny nose; an itchy mouth; a few hives or mild itching; and mild nausea or stomach discomfort.

What happens if you keep eating food you're intolerant to? ›

Food intolerances affect your digestive system. People who suffer from an intolerance, or sensitivity, can't break down certain foods. They develop gas, diarrhea and other problems. An intolerance or food sensitivity is inconvenient but not life-threatening.

Can hormone imbalance cause food sensitivities? ›

The most common hormonal imbalance in women giving rise to food sensitivities is polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). In women with insulin-resistant PCOS, the pattern of dysglycemia will once again trigger intestinal permeability and lead to the development of food sensitivities.

What is the number 1 most common food allergy? ›

Peanut allergies are among the most common and most fatal of the food allergies, causing anaphylaxis more often than the other four we mention.

What are 3 signs of food sensitivity? ›

The most common food allergy signs and symptoms include:
  • Tingling or itching in the mouth.
  • Hives, itching or eczema.
  • Swelling of the lips, face, tongue and throat or other parts of the body.
  • Wheezing, nasal congestion or trouble breathing.
  • Abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting.
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting.
31 Dec 2021

What are the top 4 food intolerances? ›

The most common food intolerances:
  1. Dairy. This is one of the first foods we Naturopaths ask our patients to cut out — sorry! ...
  2. Gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat and grains like rye and barley. ...
  3. Egg. This can't be right, eggs are good for everyone! ...
  4. Almonds and other nuts.

Why do you have to eliminate food for food sensitivity test? ›

Elimination diets are the gold standard for identifying food intolerances, sensitivities and allergies through diet. They remove certain foods known to cause uncomfortable symptoms and reintroduce them at a later time while testing for symptoms.

Are food sensitivity tests FDA approved? ›

This kit has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. In fact, many types of at-home testing kits are not currently regulated by the FDA. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) does not recognize the validity of IgG tests in diagnosing food sensitivity, also called food intolerance.

Do you need to fast before food sensitivity test? ›

It is not necessary to fast prior to your food sensitivity test. It is also not necessary to adjust your diet in any way prior to your test. The food sensitivity test involves taking your blood and exposing it to various foods to assess for an immune reaction generating certain types of antibodies.

What are the 5 classic signs of inflammation? ›

Based on visual observation, the ancients characterised inflammation by five cardinal signs, namely redness (rubor), swelling (tumour), heat (calor; only applicable to the body' extremities), pain (dolor) and loss of function (functio laesa).

Can probiotics help with food intolerance? ›

Probiotics (substances that promote the proliferation of microorganisms) alleviate food allergy via several mechanisms. They increase the number of commensal gut bacteria that interact with the gut's immune system to help it tolerate food.

Does leaky gut cause food sensitivities? ›

A leaky gut will often result in food sensitivities to the foods you eat most often. Often, there is nothing wrong with those foods, it's your gut that is the problem.

What is a Class 4 allergy? ›

Class 4: Very high level of allergy (17.50 KUA/L – 49.99 KUA/L) indicative of very high level sensitization. Class 5: Very high level of allergy (50.00 KUA/L – 99.9 KUA/L) indicative of very high level sensitization.

What is a Class 2 food allergy? ›

Class 2 food allergens, such as apple and celery, are heat-labile, susceptible to digestion, and highly homologous with proteins in pollens. Class 2 FA (oral allergy syndrome, OAS) is typically the result of sensitization to labile proteins, such as pollens, encountered through the respiratory route.

Which allergy test is most accurate? ›

Both blood and skin allergy tests can detect a patient's sensitivity to common inhalants like pollen and dust mites or to medicines, certain foods, latex, venom, or other substances. Skin testing is the preferred method used by trained allergists, and is usually the most accurate.

Can food allergies cause belly fat? ›

The verdict: Food allergies don't cause weight gain

“However, if you're eating food that you're sensitive to, it could lead to bloating and stomach discomfort – and you're less likely to exercise if you're not feeling well.”

Can vitamin deficiencies cause food sensitivities? ›

Epidemiology, animal, human and genetic studies appear to support a role of vitamin D in the development of food allergies. Populations with lower levels of vitamin D, including those living furthest from the equator and those in early infancy, are more likely to develop allergies to foods.

Why do I suddenly have food sensitivities? ›

Maybe you've moved and are being exposed to different allergens, which trigger your immune system. A viral or bacterial infection could also flip that switch. Hormones can be a catalyst, too, especially in women. It's not uncommon to develop food allergies during puberty, pregnancy or menopause.

Did Shark Tank invest in Everlywell? ›

When was Everlywell on Shark Tank? Everlywell founder and CEO Julia Cheek appeared on Shark Tank in November 2017 to acquire additional funding for the Austin-based startup. After Lori Greiner joined Everlywell as an investor on season 9 of Shark Tank, Everlywell was able to make incredible strides to grow the company.

What happens if you test positive on Everlywell? ›

If the results of our sexual health tests indicate an abnormal or a positive result for a sexually transmitted infection, a board-certified physician will contact you to talk through next steps and in some cases, prescribe treatment when needed and applicable, at no extra cost.

Is Everlywell a trusted company? ›

Is EverlyWell a legit company? Yes, EverlyWell has been a key player in the home-based testing industry since 2015. They have a solid reputation and used CLIA-certified labs to ensure accurate results.

How do I prepare for a sensitivity test? ›

Preparation for Allergy Testing
  1. Do not take Claritin, Clarinex, Zyrtec, Xyzal, or Allegra for 7 days prior to the allergy test.
  2. Do not take over the counter antihistamines (Benadryl, cold & sinus medications, sleep aids such as Tylenol PM) 7 days before the test.

How accurate are food allergy tests? ›

A positive SPT is reliable about 50 percent of the time, but a negative SPT result is about 95 percent predictive. By itself, the positive result just indicates that your body has made allergic antibodies, called IgE, to a specific food. This is called “sensitization,” and by itself is not enough for a diagnosis.

Is food sensitivity test good for weight loss? ›

Research now indicates that putting overweight and obese patients on an elimination diet based on a Food Sensitivities Panel can lead to more significant gains in weight loss. Researchers studied 82 patients 18 to 65 years old who had a body mass index of 25 kg/m2 or greater.

What are the 14 food allergies? ›

The 14 allergens are: celery, cereals containing gluten (such as wheat, barley and oats), crustaceans (such as prawns, crabs and lobsters), eggs, fish, lupin, milk, molluscs (such as mussels and oysters), mustard, peanuts, sesame, soybeans, sulphur dioxide and sulphites (if the sulphur dioxide and sulphites are at a ...

What are the 10 common food allergies intolerances? ›

  • Milk. Allergy to cow's milk is the most common food allergy in infants and young children. ...
  • Egg. Egg allergy is among the most common food allergies in children, but most children who are allergic to egg eventually outgrow their allergy. ...
  • Peanut. ...
  • Soy. ...
  • Wheat. ...
  • Tree Nut. ...
  • Shellfish. ...
  • Fish.

Is hair or blood better for food sensitivity? ›

In addition, some home allergy tests may have you send in a hair sample instead of a blood sample. “Because there is no IgE in hair, results are not going to reflect a true food allergy,” Dr. Pien says.

Is hair or blood test better for food intolerance? ›

There are a few companies that sell tests for allergies. Some claim to be able to do this from samples such as a hair sample, others from things like your grip strength. None of these have any scientific validity at all. Only a blood sample can be used to identify an allergy.

Is the Everlywell food sensitivity test worth it? ›

Clinicians typically advise against this test because it can provide inaccurate and misleading information, causing people to cut out nutritious foods from their diet. There's limited evidence supporting the accuracy of IgG testing to check for food sensitivities.

Can a food intolerance cause weight gain? ›

A: At this time, there's no evidence suggesting a link between food allergies or intolerances and weight gain. However, many consumers confuse the terms food allergies and food intolerances and make certain assumptions about either or both with regard to weight gain.

Are at home food sensitivity tests a waste of money? ›

In fact, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology recommends against using tests like these to diagnose food allergies, sensitivities or intolerances.

What happens if you test positive on EverlyWell? ›

If the results of our sexual health tests indicate an abnormal or a positive result for a sexually transmitted infection, a board-certified physician will contact you to talk through next steps and in some cases, prescribe treatment when needed and applicable, at no extra cost.

Is EverlyWell a trusted company? ›

Is EverlyWell a legit company? Yes, EverlyWell has been a key player in the home-based testing industry since 2015. They have a solid reputation and used CLIA-certified labs to ensure accurate results.

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