What is an Allergy Test?

Hello! Welcome to Beyond Soy!

After we identified soy as a problem food during our elimination diet, Ashley's doctor performed an allergy test to determine if Ashley is allergic to soy or is soy intolerant. While allergy tests are commonly used in relation to environmental allergens, they can also help determine if you have a food allergy or intolerance. Specifically, Ashley had an allergy skin test. Allergy blood tests are also available, should your doctor tell you that a skin test is not advisable.

An allergy test is administered by a doctor (e.g., a trained allergy specialist). The test itself is pretty simple: your doctor puts a grid on both of your arms (some doctors grid your back instead of your arms) and then puts a small amount of a single allergen in each square. Then it's a waiting game to see which squares have a reaction. You have an allergy if your skin reacts. If there is no reaction, you don't have an allergy.

image via pixabay

image via pixabay

The allergy test helped us figure out that Ashley is intolerant, but not allergic, to soy since her skin didn't react. (Lest you think she got off easy, she did react to all of the grass allergens, among other environmental allergens.) With these results we were confident that Ashley didn't have a soy allergy, leaving a soy intolerance as the only option. While having an allergy or intolerance doesn't change what we eat, it is beneficial to know the root cause. With an allergy (remember allergies are potentially life threatening), you may need to carry an EpiPen or take other preventative measures. Be sure to discuss with your doctor! 

Speaking of doctors... It is extremely important that an allergy test is done with a doctor! You want your doctor on hand in case you have a serious allergic reaction (that you might not be aware of). Also, your doctor will ensure that each grid only has one allergen and that cross contamination between the grids doesn't happen.

For more detailed information about allergy testing, the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology has a great resource for learning more about allergy tests and locating an allergy specialist in your area.