If you or a loved one has ever had an allergic reaction to a certain food, you’ve probably done your best to avoid that food. But it’s possible you’ve outgrown the allergy. Based on your skin and lab testing results, your allergist may suggest a food challenge test to find out if you are still allergic.
During a food challenge test, you are given small amounts of foods at increasing doses over several hours, approaching one full portion, and observed to see whether there's a reaction. After your last dose, you will be monitored for an extended period of time. If you do, in fact, have a reaction, trained medical staff and all the necessary tools for treatment will be close at hand to attend to your symptoms. If you don’t have a reaction, your doctor will advise you on how often you should incorporate the food into your diet.
Medications can also cause allergic reactions. Penicillin is the most commonly reported medication allergy. But often times people are either not truly allergic to the medication or have outgrown the allergy. If you suspect that you might be allergic to a certain medication, your doctor may suggest medication challenge testing.
Like food challenge testing, during a medication challenge test, you are given the medication in increasing doses over time, approaching one full dose, while being monitored by a care team. If you finish the test without a reaction, your doctor may advise that it’s safe to take the medication. If you have a reaction, your care team is there to treat you and your doctor will use the results of the test to decide how to move forward with your care.