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Oral Food Challenge

Food allergies can cause a great deal of stress about eating meals outside of a more regulated home environment. Food avoidance is often a challenging feat and accidental consumption of a small amount could cause a severe reaction. While skin and blood tests can provide helpful information about potential food allergies, an oral food challenge is typically the most accurate way to diagnose an individual’s food allergy. At Frontier Allergy Asthma and Immunology, our staff diligently monitor patients during their oral food challenges to ensure a safe and comfortable test.

When should I undergo an oral food challenge?

Your allergist will recommend an oral food challenge when other test results are inconclusive. They may also recommend an oral food challenge when a person may have outgrown their food allergy. Prior to your oral food challenge, your allergist will request that you discontinue all antihistamines and all antihistamine-related medications and supplements a few days prior to starting your challenge. This is essential to avoid inaccurate results. During an oral food challenge, you will ingest small, but incrementally larger, amounts of your possible allergen over a period of time. Throughout this process, you will be closely monitored and observed for signs of a possible adverse reaction. You may only receive incrementally larger doses if no symptoms appear. If adverse symptoms do appear (usually presented as bodily flushing, hives, or difficulty breathing), the food challenge will stop, and you will receive medication if needed. Because of the chance (though very slim) a serious anaphylactic reaction may occur, this challenge must occur in a healthcare setting under the medical supervision of your allergy specialist. Because an oral food challenge is a medical test to diagnose a potential food allergy, it is important for patients to be in good health on the day of the test. If you are having a flare-up of asthma, allergies, eczema, hives, or angioedema on the day of your test, your test will be rescheduled for a later date. If you are ill, recovering from an illness, or coming down with an illness, your test will be rescheduled for a later date. Any of these factors could easily alter the results of your food challenge and provide an inaccurate conclusion.

What do my results mean?

If at any time during the oral food challenge you experience adverse symptoms, your allergy specialist will discuss various medication options and food avoidance strategies with you. Depending on a patient’s age, an oral food challenge may be repeated after some time to test for the presence of the food allergy again. If throughout the oral food challenge you do not experience any adverse symptoms, you can start re-introducing small quantities of this food into your daily diet. Your physician will discuss how this can be done safely in the comfort of your home.

Next steps

If you are interested in further discussion about your specific needs, Dr. Reshamwala is happy to see you and answer any questions you may have. Please call (512) 535-2655 or email to schedule an appointment today! Book an appointment

Written by: Dr. Neha Reshamwala
NPI number: 1780874578
Page last reviewed: 03/20/21

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