Food Allergy Testing & Treatment Near Me | The Allergy & Asthma Center (2023)

Dr. Jon E. Stahlman, MD specializes in the diagnoses and treatment of adult and pediatric food allergies. Come to The Allergy & Asthma Center today! We are ready to serve you. For more information, please call us or book an appointment online. We serve patients from Lawrenceville GA, Atlanta GA, Conyers GA, Suwanee GA, Duluth GA, Grayson GA, Decatur GA, Brookhaven GA, Lithonia GA and Covington GA.

Food Allergy Testing & Treatment Near Me | The Allergy & Asthma Center (1)
Food Allergy Testing & Treatment Near Me | The Allergy & Asthma Center (2)

Table of Contents:

How prevalent are food allergies?Are there different types of food allergies?Immediate hypersensitivity food reactionsDelayed hypersensitivity food reactionsCan babies and infants be allergic to foods?Can one be allergic to more than one food in a food family?What is the best treatment for food allergies?

Food allergies can be one of the most frustrating and complex allergy issues facing physicians, patients, and families. Considering the unlimited number of foods (and food additives) that are consumed; the variable time between ingestion and the allergic reaction; and the varied and often subtle symptoms which result; it seems miraculous when the food that is causing the symptoms is actually identified.

Although an individual may be allergic to any food, there are eight foods that account for 90% of all food allergic reactions. These are: milk, eggs, peanut, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat.

How prevalent are food allergies?


Approximately 4% of Americans are estimated to have food allergies. The prevalence of food allergies is highest (6-8%) in infants and young children under three years old. Fortunately, the incidence of documented food allergies decreases with age, probably due to the development of tolerance in children allergic to milk, wheat, soy, and eggs. Of the 2.5% of children allergic to milk, approximately 80% will “outgrow” their allergy by five years of age. Of all of the foods, peanuts are least likely to be outgrown. Recent studies have shown that only about 20% of children will lose their hypersensitivity to peanuts.

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Immediate hypersensitivity food reactions

The immediate allergic reaction is the best understood, most easily diagnosed, but the most serious of all allergic reactions. This reaction represents the “classic” allergic reaction. At the cellular level, an allergen (the food protein) comes in contact with an IgE antibody specific to that food, resulting in the release of histamine and a multitude of other chemical mediators. Once released into the tissues and circulation, these mediators cause an immediate allergic reaction.

This reaction, which generally occurs within minutes after ingestion of the allergenic food, can be relatively mild or severe. Symptoms of a relatively mild to moderate reaction might include a rash (urticaria, commonly referred to as hives), itching, generalized redness of the skin, heat, facial or eyelid swelling, nausea, abdominal cramping, vomiting and/or diarrhea. Such reactions are generally treated with a quick acting antihistamine and generally run their course over a few minutes to hours.

The most severe allergic reactions, or anaphylaxis, generally have a rather quick onset after the food is eaten. Symptoms might include those mentioned above, but, can rapidly progress to difficulty breathing (chest tightness due to bronchial constriction and swelling of the airways), a drop in blood pressure leading to shock, and even death. Anaphylaxis, or impending anaphylaxis, must be treated immediately. Epinephrine (adrenaline), which is available for self administration, must be given immediately, and repeated, if necessary. This represents a true medical emergency and should never be taken lightly.

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Any person who has possibly experienced an immediate allergic reaction to a food should consult a board certified allergist. The allergist will likely test the patient, either through the skin or blood, in order to identify or confirm the allergenic food. Once it has been determined which food(s) caused the immediate allergic reaction, the allergist will consult with the patient and family about the elimination of the food(s) from the diet and the management of any further reactions.

Delayed hypersensitivity food reactions

A delayed food allergy reaction, while less dangerous in terms of one’s immediate health, can be much more difficult to diagnose and treat. As the name implies, there is often a delay of usually hours to days between the time of ingestion and the onset of symptoms, making the history less valuable in establishing a cause and effect relationship.

Part of the difficulty in diagnosing these reactions is that there is not yet available a reliable allergy test which can accurately diagnose or predict a delayed reaction. Allergy skin testing and RAST or ImmunoCap blood tests are not helpful, as they measure only the IgE antibody, the antibody responsible for immediate reactions. Research has not yet identified the antibody or antibodies responsible for delayed reactions, although there has been considerable interest and research in the possible role of the IgG antibody in the delayed allergic reaction. There is now a blood test available to measure this antibody, but its reliability as a predictor of delayed allergy has not yet been established.

The optimal method of determining whether one is suffering from a delayed hypersensitivity reaction, and to which food(s), is the elimination diet. Elimination or reduction of symptoms after the avoidance of the offending food(s) from the diet may take weeks to see, therefore, one must be very patient. The most common foods likely to cause delayed reactions are milk and dairy products, and wheat and other grains.

The symptoms resulting from a delayed reaction can involve several organ systems and may be quite subtle in their presentation. In addition to more classic allergy symptoms such as nasal congestion, runny nose, rash (eczema or hives), etc, delayed reactions may present with symptoms such as frequent headaches, recurrent or chronic abdominal pain, lethargy, irritability, dark circles under the eyes, limb pain, and recurrent ear or sinus infections, to name a few.

Can babies and infants be allergic to foods?

Food allergies in babies and infants can be especially challenging. Symptoms of a food allergy may include colic (irritability), excessive spitting (even projectile vomiting), rashes including eczema or hives, nasal symptoms including congestion and/or runny nose, coughing or wheezing, diarrhea (sometimes bloody), constipation, and even poor weight gain.

If a baby under a year of age is truly allergic, it is almost always caused by a food. And, the food most likely to be responsible is cow’s milk. It is important to know that 20-30% of milk allergic babies are also allergic to soy.

It is also possible for babies who are exclusively breast fed to be allergic to a food protein being passed through the nursing mother’s milk. In such a case, it is likely that the baby is reacting to a food eaten by the nursing mother, such as milk and/or dairy products.

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Can one be allergic to more than one food in a food family?


It is also important to be aware that many foods can cross react with other foods within the same food group or family. Familiarity of food groups is a must for the food allergic individual.

What is the best treatment for food allergies?

The treatment advocated by allergy specialists for food allergies for many years has been avoidance. Avoidance works well for most food allergies but does present challenges for patients and their families. Recent research has suggested that there may be other forms of therapy depending on the age of the individual. Studies have shown the prevention of certain food allergies is now possible with early introduction of that food. Currently the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends introducing peanut protein (in an infant safe form) starting at age 6 months if possible for most children (and as early as 4 months for high risk children with eczema or an egg allergy).

New therapies to protect patients who have been diagnosed with a food allergy are also nearing everyday use including forms of oral immunotherapy and possibly patches that can be worn to prevent allergic reactions. Your board certified allergist is the best resource for helping decide if any of these therapies are best for you or your child.

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FAQs

What is the most accurate testing for food allergies? ›

Skin prick testing (SPT) is the preferred testing method for true food allergy. It is safe for most patients—even infants—and it can be done during a regular clinic visit. Results are available immediately after the test, so you will be able to discuss the results with your allergist at the same visit.

What is the fastest way to get rid of food allergies? ›

There is currently no cure for food allergies, and avoiding the food to which you are allergic is the only way to prevent a reaction. However, measures can be taken to reduce the risk of serious health consequences by avoiding food allergens and quickly recognizing and managing allergic reactions to food if they occur.

What are three symptoms of a food allergy? ›

Symptoms include:
  • tingling or itching in the mouth.
  • a raised, itchy red rash (hives) – in some cases, the skin can turn red and itchy, but without a raised rash.
  • swelling of the face, mouth (angioedema), throat or other areas of the body.
  • difficulty swallowing.
  • wheezing or shortness of breath.
  • feeling dizzy and lightheaded.

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.

Does insurance cover food sensitivity test? ›

Most insurance companies do not offer financial help for at-home food sensitivity tests. However, some insurance providers may cover the cost of a food test at a doctor's office. If a person has insurance, they should contact their insurance provider to check which tests they cover.

What should you not do before a food allergy test? ›

Our office tests for environmental allergens – pollens, dust mites, molds, cat, dog, and cockroach. It is important that you inform the nurse if there are foods which you avoid due to reactions when eaten. Do not take Claritin, Clarinex, Zyrtec, Xyzal, or Allegra for 7 days prior to the allergy test.

How do you permanently get rid of food allergies? ›

While there's ongoing research to find better treatments to reduce food allergy symptoms and prevent allergy attacks, there isn't any proven treatment that can prevent or completely relieve symptoms.

What is a natural remedy for food allergies? ›

Fermented foods like kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, natto, yogurt, raw cheese, miso and kombucha will help to boost your immune system and may reduce your body's oversensitivity to food triggers that lead to allergy symptoms.

What is the best medicine for food allergies? ›

There are 2 main types of medication that can be used to relieve the symptoms of an allergic reaction to foods
  • antihistamines – used to treat mild to moderate allergic reaction.
  • adrenaline – used to treat severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis)

What are 7 signs of a food allergy? ›

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 7 main food allergies? ›

This law identified eight foods as major food allergens: milk, eggs, fish, Crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soybeans. Eight foods are identified as major food allergens. Under the FASTER Act of 2021, sesame is being added as the 9th major food allergen effective January 1, 2023.

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 is the root cause of food sensitivities? ›

There are several causes of food intolerances, including enzyme deficiencies, problems processing certain chemicals, and sensitivities to certain additives in foods. Having underlying gastrointestinal diseases is also associated with food intolerances.

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.

Is a food allergy test worth it? ›

But medical organizations, including those in the United States, Europe and Canada, have recommended against using food sensitivity or intolerance tests because there is no good evidence that they work. “There isn't anything in your hair that would tell you anything about your sensitivity to food,” Dr. Kelso said.

Who performs food allergy testing? ›

Food allergy testing can find out whether you or your child has a food allergy. If a food allergy is suspected, your primary care provider or your child's provider will probably refer you to an allergist. An allergist is a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating allergies and asthma.

Can my doctor do a food sensitivity test? ›

Food sensitivity testing is normally conducted in a doctor's office, clinic, or medical laboratory. The procedure depends on the specific test being used. Tests are prescribed by a doctor after reviewing your symptoms to determine the most probable sensitivity or intolerance.

How do I prepare for a food allergy 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.

How long does it take to clear food allergens out of your system? ›

Allergy to foods is commonly reversible. Symptoms often clear following 3-6 months of avoidance and nutritional therapy.

Can a blood test identify food allergies? ›

Allergy testing using skin prick tests or blood tests for allergen-specific IgE helps your doctor to confirm the substances to which you are allergic, so that appropriate advice can be given.

What is the best antihistamine for food allergies? ›

In these cases, OTC or prescribed antihistamines such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) may help reduce symptoms. These drugs can be taken after exposure to an allergy-causing food to help relieve skin redness, itching, or hives. However, antihistamines cannot treat a severe allergic reaction.

Are there shots for food allergies? ›

Allergy shots are not used to treat food allergies. The best option for people with food allergies is to strictly avoid that food.

What can I drink for allergies? ›

If you feel stuffy or have postnasal drip from your allergies, sip more water, juice, or other nonalcoholic drinks. The extra liquid can thin the mucus in your nasal passages and give you some relief. Warm fluids like teas, broth, or soup have an added benefit: steam.

What kills allergies in home? ›

What Steps Can I Take to Control Indoor Allergens?
  • Control dust mites. Keep surfaces in your home clean and uncluttered. ...
  • Vacuum once or twice a week. Vacuuming helps keep allergens low. ...
  • Prevent pet dander. ...
  • Prevent pollen from getting inside by keeping windows and doors closed. ...
  • Avoid mold spores. ...
  • Control cockroaches.

Is Ginger good for food allergies? ›

Ginger. It's not uncommon for allergy symptoms to stem from nasal passage irritation, swelling, and other inflammatory issues. The good news is ginger may naturally ease the symptoms. This isn't shocking as the plant has been used to treat joint pain, nausea, and other common health for thousands of years.

Which food allergies are most serious? ›

The most severe allergic reaction is anaphylaxis — a life-threatening whole-body allergic reaction that can impair your breathing, cause a dramatic drop in your blood pressure and affect your heart rate. Anaphylaxis can come on within minutes of exposure to the trigger food.

Which 3 three foods are the most common causes of food allergy? ›

Foods that most commonly cause an allergic reaction are:
  • milk.
  • eggs.
  • peanuts.
  • tree nuts.
  • fish.
  • shellfish.
  • some fruit and vegetables.

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 12 most common food allergies? ›

  • 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.

Why am I allergic to everything all of a sudden? ›

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.

Do allergies get worse with age? ›

Allergies may simply worsen with age because you've been exposed to the triggers longer, Parikh says. "It takes repeated exposure to develop allergies. It can take a while for the immune system to decide it doesn't like that allergen."

Does having allergies mean your immune system is weak? ›

While allergies indicate that the immune system is not functioning correctly, a group of researchers' suggests otherwise. They argue that these allergies could be the body's mechanism of getting rid of toxic substances and that allergies are indicators of strong immune systems.

What food causes 90% of food allergies? ›

A child could be allergic to any food, but these common allergens cause 90% of all reactions in kids:
  • milk.
  • eggs.
  • peanuts.
  • soy.
  • wheat.
  • tree nuts (such as walnuts and cashews)
  • fish.
  • shellfish (such as shrimp)

What are 5 examples of severe food allergies? ›

Types of food allergies
  • Cow's milk. An allergy to cow's milk is most often seen in babies and young children ( 9 ). ...
  • Eggs. An egg allergy is the second most common cause of food allergy in children ( 14 ). ...
  • Tree nuts. ...
  • Peanuts. ...
  • Shellfish. ...
  • Wheat. ...
  • Soy. ...
  • Fish.

What are the big 9 allergy causing foods? ›

More than 170 foods have been reported to cause allergic reactions, according to Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), but the vast majority are caused by the “Big Nine”: milk, eggs, nuts, fish, crustaceans, shellfish, wheat, soy and sesame.

What is the biggest allergy in the world? ›

Milk is the most common allergen for children, followed by egg and peanut. Shellfish is the most common allergen for adults, followed by peanut and tree nut.

Which of the following will destroy most food allergens? ›

Stomach acid will destroy the raw food allergens so the symptoms usually stop when you swallow the food. The allergy rarely progresses to a systemic reaction. Cooking the food will also destroy the allergen protein so canned and cooked fruits or vegetables rarely cause symptoms.

What are the main 10 foods causing allergies? ›

Common food allergens
  • Eggs.
  • Milk.
  • Mustard.
  • Peanuts.
  • Crustaceans and molluscs.
  • Fish.
  • Sesame seeds.
  • Soy.
19 Oct 2022

What food can cause anxiety? ›

Foods (and drinks) that are stress- and anxiety-provoking
  • Alcohol.
  • Caffeine.
  • Sugary drinks and foods.
  • Processed foods, such as chips, cookies, frozen foods and ready-made meals.
  • Foods high in trans fats and excessive saturated fats, such as fried foods, red meat, full-fat dairy, butter and baked goods.
21 Sept 2021

What are three symptoms of food intolerance? ›

Gastrointestinal symptoms of a food intolerance usually kick in within a few hours and include:
  • Diarrhea.
  • Gas and bloating.
  • Heartburn.
  • Nausea.
  • Stomach pain.
  • Upset stomach.
13 Apr 2022

Can anxiety cause food allergies? ›

As it is released, histamine causes swelling and irritation and again, stress is the culprit! It is stress that causes these mast cells to break down and release histamine all over the body including in the digestive system – which brings us back to food sensitivities.

Which are the three most common gastrointestinal symptoms of food allergy? ›

Gastrointestinal and cutaneous symptoms are among the more common manifestations of IgE-mediated food allergies. Common gastrointestinal symptoms include abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

What the 5 most common food intolerances are? ›

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

What is the gold standard for food allergy testing? ›

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

What is the most accurate allergy testing? ›

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.

Are there any accurate food sensitivity tests? ›

While "food sensitivity" is not an official diagnosis, the popularity of food sensitivity blood tests has grown. However, at this time, the evidence is lacking to support the use of these tests in diagnosing adverse reactions to foods.

Which is more accurate skin test or blood test for food allergies? ›

Generally speaking, skin tests are more sensitive than blood tests, meaning they are more likely to detect allergies that a blood test may miss. Skin tests also require less wait time, as results are typically delivered in 15-20 minutes, rather than the one to two week wait time of blood tests.

What is the cost of food allergy testing? ›

Food intolerance test costs can vary from Rs 9000 to Rs 15000. However, Bookmerilab, in association with Thyrocare, provides the test at Rs 6999 only. The test covers 217 different food items.

Can a doctor do a food sensitivity test? ›

Food sensitivity testing is normally conducted in a doctor's office, clinic, or medical laboratory. The procedure depends on the specific test being used. Tests are prescribed by a doctor after reviewing your symptoms to determine the most probable sensitivity or intolerance.

Can blood test detect food allergies? ›

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. Elimination diet.

Can blood test detect allergies? ›

Allergy blood tests are used to help find out if you have an allergy. There are two general types of allergy blood tests: A total IgE test is used to measure the total amount of IgE antibodies in your blood. A specific IgE test measures how much IgE your body makes in response to a single allergen.

Which is the simplest allergy test? ›

A simple blood test, also known as serum IgE testing, is often used. IgE is the molecule your body makes if you're allergic to something, and each IgE molecule is specific for a particular allergen. The lab will mix your sample with one or more known allergens to determine if your IgE molecules react with it.

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.

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.

Can you test food allergies from hair? ›

There's no evidence that this can help diagnose a food allergy. In addition, hair samples don't contain IgE. Keep in mind that food allergies can be serious. It's best to make sure you get an accurate diagnosis from a doctor to avoid potentially life-threatening reactions.

How do you test for food allergies at home? ›

Home tests for food allergies

Immunoglobulin E (IgE) testing can be performed at home. This test includes a finger prick kit so you can send in a small sample to a lab. This is a food allergy test that checks your IgE levels for a given food, similar to the test that your provider would send to a lab.

How severe is a Class 3 allergy? ›

Class 3: High level of allergy (3.5 KUA/L – 17.4 KUA/L) indicative of high level sensitization. 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.

Can allergy testing make you feel sick? ›

Skin tests may cause very mild discomfort when the skin is pricked. You may have symptoms such as itching, a stuffy nose, red watery eyes, or a skin rash if you're allergic to the substance in the test. In rare cases, people can have a whole-body allergic reaction (called anaphylaxis), which can be life threatening.

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