How to get tested for food allergies in Singapore?
To know whether you have a food allergy, you must consult an allergist who would prescribe a food allergy test. However, if you know which foods cause allergies, things might be easier for you as you could do without any tests. For example, some people may be allergic to sea-foods like shrimps and prawns that cause rashes soon after eating it. But for most people, consulting a doctor is the way to start investigations for detecting the foods that cause allergies.
The allergist will thoroughly investigate your food habits focusing on the symptoms experienced after eating food and how long it takes symptoms to show up. They would also like to know the quantity of food taken, how frequently the reaction occurs, and if it happens with some other foods. Whether you take any medications is also an important consideration to eliminate the possibilities of drug allergies. Moreover, you must disclose to the allergist any medical treatment that you might be undergoing.
Food allergy testing
It does not require any preparation to undergo food allergy testing. The allergist will undertake a physical examination of the patient and gather extensive information, as explained above, about your experience with food allergy. It will help the allergist eliminate many possible causes and shorten the list of suspected items to enable focus more accurately on the culprits and identify the ones that matter to you.
The following are the tests that the allergist would perform by understanding your condition.
Elimination diet – To find the specific food that triggers allergy, this test is highly useful. It begins by eliminating the suspected food items, one by one, and observing the result over a period. Next, keep adding the foods to the diet one by one to detect any allergic reaction. However, this test cannot identify whether the reaction is due o food sensitivity or food allergy. This test is not suitable for those prone to a severe allergic reaction.
Oral challenge test – During this test, the allergist gives a small amount of the suspected food to the patient for oral consumption or injection. Sometimes, they may ask the patient to sniff at the food. The allergist will monitor the patient closely to detect any allergic reaction and then immediately provide treatment.
Skin prick test – During this test, the allergist or the medical technician will place a tiny amount of the suspected food on the skin on your back or forearm. Pricking the skin with a needle at the place where the food is placed will make the substance penetrate the skin. If it generates an itchy reaction at the place of application of the food item, it shows that you are allergic to that food.
Blood test – IgE antibodies present in the blood cause allergies, and a blood test can help detect IgE antibodies. When exposed to substances that cause allergies, prompt the body to produce IgE antibodies in the immune system. The blood test can detect the allergy-causing substance.
Take the oral challenge under strict medical supervision as it can cause severe allergic reactions.