How can a peanut allergy be diagnosed?

Talk to your doctor about your signs and symptoms, and keep a note of what you eat when you get the symptoms. If you have peanuts a few hours of minutes before your symptoms start (and they start every time you eat peanuts), it is likely that you have a peanut allergy. Your doctor might ask you to do an elimination diet challenge to confirm or aid a diagnosis. They might also ask to do a skin test or blood tests too.

The most reliable diagnostic test for any food allergy is an elimination diet challenge. This involves eating foods without peanuts or peanut products (like peanut oils) in them for a period of time to see whether your symptoms stop, and also if your symptoms start up again when you resume eating peanut-containing foods. Any elimination diet challenges should be done under close supervision and with the consultation of a dietician or your doctor. There are other tests too.

A RAST (radioallergosorbent test) is done by taking a blood sample and trying to react various allergens with the chemicals (in particular, IgE) in your blood. It is done in the lab, and is quite reliable too. A skin prick test is less reliable and accurate than a RAST, and involves introducing small amounts of allergen to the skin to see if a reaction develops. If you are allergic to peanuts, you might see a “wheal and flare” - an irregular, blanched area of skin surrounded by a reddened area of inflammation.

Peanut Allergies Guide Index:

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