Food allergies should be diagnosed by medical professionals trained in allergic disease management, such as allergists. The diagnosis process typically begins with the provider obtaining a detailed symptom history followed by a physical examination and, if allergy is suspected, further testing. Proper diagnosis is important to avoid unnecessary dietary restrictions, which may lead to inadequate nutrient intakes and/or undue psychosocial stress.
A thorough food history is taken with details on foods eaten, food preparation, timing of onset of symptoms in relation to exposure, and symptom severity and duration.
The physical examination looks for signs of atopic dermatitis, asthma and …show more content…
Foods are reintroduced to the diet one at a time while the patient is carefully observed for the recurrence of symptoms; reactions are monitored in the food record. The initial challenge begins with a very small amount of the food. If no reaction occurs, the dose is increased gradually at each feeding until a response occurs or the amount of food offered is the same as a normal serving size. When a positive reaction is observed, the allergist may recommend that the food again be eliminated until symptoms abate and repeat the challenge to verify the reaction was caused by the food rather than a coincidental event.
During the food challenge, patients should be closely observed by a healthcare professional for extreme reactions. Emergency equipment should be available as severe anaphylactic reactions possibly leading to death can occur after a period of elimination.
There are food allergy tests available that have not been scientifically proven for efficacy and are not standardized (Begin, P). These are not recommended in food allergy diagnosis and include (Begin, P):
• Applied Kinesiology (muscle testing)