Monday, March 17, 2014

No ifs, ands or NUTS!

So, you’ve had an allergic reaction…now what?

Always contact a certified allergist – never try to diagnose an allergy on your own.  There are many tests that an allergist can perform to help determine the extent of your allergies.

1. Skin prick test (SPT) – a small amount of an allergen is put on the skin and the doctor pricks the skin to allow some of the solution to enter the skin.  If an allergy is present, an antibody, immunoglobulin E (IgE) will be released by the immune system and a reaction will appear on the skin.  If there is no allergy, no reaction will be seen.
2. Blood Test – blood is drawn to determine the level of IgE antibodies in the blood stream.  The higher the level of IgE, the more likely the person has an allergy.
3. Oral food challenge (OFC) – while this is the most accurate of testing, it also has the greatest potential for serious side effects.  During an OFC, the patient is fed a small amount of a food protein. If no reaction is seen, the dosage of the protein is increased.  Once any sign of reaction is observed, the OFC is halted.  Generally, hives, itching or swelling will occur if there is an allergy present.

I have had all three of these tests performed.  None of them are painful and they have provided my doctors with valuable information for my treatment plan.  If you suspect you have an allergy to some food, get it checked out.  It could save your life!

Keep out of the nut house!!

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