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How to Arrange Food Allergy Testing

If you have a food allergy it is essential that you identify it as soon as possible so that you can avoid problem foods.

Food allergy testing is the only way to identify a food allergy. Once you are aware of your food allergies, you can ensure that you do not eat the foods which are harmful to your body.

If you are allergic to certain foods your immune system releases large doses of chemicals when they are eaten to protect your body from them. The problem is that these chemicals produce a variety of symptoms that can be severe and sometimes, life threatening.

Food allergies can be identified by carrying out food allergy testing. However, there are only 90 NHS allergy clinics in the UK. This means that if you want food allergy testing on the NHS , you might have to wait a long time. Therefore, you might want to arrange food allergy testing privately. If so, you have two main options:

Food Allergy Skin Prick Test

A food allergy skin prick test uses a small needle to gently prick the skin through fluid containing a known allergen to see how it reacts to it. If you have a food allergy, your skin will go red and itchy and a small white swelling will develop. This will fade within a matter of hours.

The food allergy skin prick test provides a clear “yes or no” result as to whether or not you have a food allergy. It is not painful and the results are generally available very quickly.

Food Allergy Blood Test

The food allergy blood test allows you to analysis your reaction to over 400 different allergens.

It involves a sample of your blood being taken and sent to a laboratory where it is tested for levels of IgE. IgE triggers the release of histamines into the bloodstream when the body is exposed to a food or substance which it is allergic to.

You can find places where you can have food allergy testing by searching on the internet or alternatively by asking your doctor for a recommendation.

Elizabeth Harfleet is a Manchester nutritionist specialising in food allergy testing