Food Allergy: Tests and Diagnosis

What tests are used to diagnose food allergies?

The most common tests for allergies are skin prick testing and blood tests (ImmunoCAP).

Skin prick testing is typically performed in an office setting; testing involves pricking the skin with a small amount of the suspected allergen in a liquid on the arm or back. Sometimes this will cause a raised area to develop, like a small bug bite or hive, at the site of the prick. Negative testing does not rule out an allergy and a positive test does not mean your child will have a reaction if that food if ingested. Your allergist will determine whether or not the test is abnormal or not.

How do doctors at Children’s Hospital Colorado make a diagnosis?

Our allergists perform allergy tests and, importantly, interpret their results. An allergist will decide on the most appropriate allergy testing for your child based on his or her history or allergic reactions. Based on your child’s symptoms it may also be recommended that other testing be performed, such as a supervised food challenge, an endoscopy or colonoscopy by a pediatric gastroenterologist here at Children’s Colorado.