Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Can you get a blood test to determine if you have a food allergy?"
I'm convinced I'm allergic to peanuts but do you need a blood test to confirm that you have an allergy? I figure I can just avoid peanuts and I'll be ok.
Food allergies are common. They are also commonly misunderstood by doctors as well as patients. The diagnosis of food allergy begins with a detailed medical history and physical examination.
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While a skin prick test is preferable, a blood test can be used to confirm if you have a food allergy by looking for antibodies. The most common type of blood test used is the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA or EIA). It measures the amount of immunoglobulin (Ig) E antibodies that your body may make in response to a specific allergen. Obviously, you can just avoid an allergic reaction by staying away from foods that cause signs and symptoms. However, despite your best efforts, you may accidentally come into contact with a food that triggers the reaction. Seeking treatment for allergy is important. You didn't state how severe you are allergic to peanuts. For a minor allergic reaction, over-the-counter or prescribed antihistamines may help reduce symptoms. However, antihistamines can't treat a severe allergic reaction. For a severe allergic reaction, you may need an injection of epinephrine. Many people carry with them at all times an epinephrine autoinjector (EpiPen, EpiPen Jr., Twinject) for an emergency situation. Peanut allergy is not to be taken lightly. In bad cases, peanut allergies can trigger a condition called anaphylaxis, which is a sudden, potential life-threatening reaction. I would recommend a consultation with a primary care physician or an allergist.
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