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Oral Ingestion Challenges

Allergies to foods are all too common, and determining the trigger can be very difficult. Because we ingest many things in a day, you may not know which one caused your symptoms. Even if you can narrow it down to a specific food, most things we eat contain a variety of ingredients. Avoiding an allergen is virtually impossible until you determine the precise trigger.

Food allergy testing can be performed in several ways. Our first choice is with skin testing, either the prick test or the patch test. These tests are very safe, only exposing you to a small amount of the food protein, externally. However, in select cases skin tests do not return definitive results.

When the source of your allergic reaction cannot be determined by other means, we may consider an oral ingestion challenge, also called an oral food challenge. We will examine your medical history, and consider the severity of your symptoms, along with other factors before recommending this type of test. Your health and safety are always of upmost concern in our office. We do not recommend any test or treatment unless we are confident that it is safe and beneficial. Potential risks, if any, will be clearly explained before you commit to any procedure.

If you and your doctor decide that an oral ingestion challenge is the best way to diagnose your allergy, the procedure will be performed in our office, under close supervision. You begin by ingesting a miniscule amount of the suspected allergen. If there has been no reaction after a period of 20 minutes, you will ingest a slightly larger volume of the food in question. This is repeated every 20 minutes, with gradually increasing amounts, until either you experience some allergic symptoms, or predetermined quantity of the food has been reached.

This progressive approach helps ensure your safety, and minimize your discomfort if you are allergic to the food. This technique can be used to diagnose unknown food allergies, or to determine if you have “outgrown” a previously diagnosed allergy following an extended period of avoidance.

If you suspect you may have a food allergy, call 847-888-8802 and schedule an appointment with Advanced Allergy & Asthma Associates/Food Allergy Center of Illinois today. We have three convenient locations, in Elgin and Crystal Lake.
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