ORAL FOOD CHALLENGE
Are you done with tests and ready to try the REAL FOOD? If you’re at this stage, then you’re probably betting (and hoping!) that you’re likely NOT allergic to the challenge food. This should only be done in a doctor’s office, NOT at home. Below, we’ll share some oral food challenge advice so you’ll be prepared and know what to bring and what to expect when testing for a food allergy.
If you’d prefer to try skin and blood tests first, read about FOOD ALLERGY TESTING: HOW TO FIND OUT WHAT YOU ARE ALLERGIC TO.
Really, a food challenge is the only sure fire way to know whether you are really allergic to a certain food or not. The skin and blood tests try to simulate the reaction in your body, but to really know, you’ll need to eat that food.
DON’T DO THIS AT HOME!
You never know what allergic reaction may happen, and it can be potentially life threatening, so it’s best done with an allergist.
Some allergists offer food challenges in their office, but they must be scheduled far in advance as the appointments can take hours. Typically, the food being tested is given in tiny but increasing amounts with a wait period between each dose. You are kept under close observation by the allergist or nurses. After each increment, the dose is increased little by little. If an allergic reaction occurs at any time, the challenge would be stopped.
WHAT TO BRING
It’s important to bring in food for your challenge that is not contaminated with other foods. If you are doing a nut challenge, Nut-Free New York has a great resource for finding uncontaminated nuts.
Remember to bring in some toys, videos, iPad, books, etc. to keep you or your child busy during these few hours of waiting time. Also it’d be a good idea to bring in some treats in case you need to bribe your child to eat the challenge food. We brought cookies so my daughter had something to look forward to after each incremental dosage. It also served to get the taste out of her mouth. You might also want to bring in a meal just in case you get super hungry – it is after all, a couple hours.
AFTER THE CHALLENGE
If you pass your challenge, it’d be time for a celebration! You are not allergic to that food.
Once you have your testing results, you might like to read about how we keep our kids with food allergies safe in everyday life.
What has worked for you? If you have advice, please share in the comments. We’d love to hear from you.