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Treatment options of Food Allergy

Diagnosis of food allergy

If you think you have food allergies, consult a doctor, go through comprehensive medical assesment and do a test.

Skin prick test

The skin’s surface on the forearm or the back is pricked where an allergen extract is applied. If the person is allergic to that particular food, a bump will appear on the pricked spot. The size of the bump indicates the intensity of the allergy.

RAST test

This is to detect the abnormal reactions of specific IgE antibodies in the blood to different foods. This test is not as accurate as the skin prick test, and is more costly. It is usually provided to those who cannot do the skin prick test, such as people with eczema or other skin problems.

Food allergies are not curable. We can only try our best to avoid allergens so as to prevent the symptoms from occurring. Medications will help control symptoms; the type of drugs prescribed depends on the intensity of the allergy. If the reactions are mild, a doctor may use antihistamines. For patients with fatal reactions, doctors may ask them to carry an epinephrine injection (commonly known as the ‘rescue shot’). Epinephrine can relieve rashes and swelling, contract the arteriole and capillary vessels rapidly, reduce vascular permeability, raise the already dropped blood pressure and restore consciousness of patients who have experienced shock. It can also relax the bronchi, relieving bronchial spasm, and allowing the person to resume normal breathing. It is a prescribed drug and patients need to inject it themselves. Though there are side effects such as temporary panic and shaking hands, it can save the life of those who have life-threatening allergic reactions. It provides more benefit than harm.