The Basics of Patch Testing for Food Allergies

It’s no secret that childhood allergies are on the rise. Patch testing is a common form of allergy testing that may be suggested by a child’s doctor as he or she works to diagnose the root of a child’s allergies.

Different than a blood test, in which blood is drawn, actual food is used to test how a child’s body reacts to its presence.  Foods tested typically include those in which the child has a history of reactions or may have tested positive for during other types of allergy testing. Typically, the foods are pureed and placed in small metal chambers. These chambers are securely taped to the child’s back so that they are in contact with the skin. The chambers are left in place for 48 hours.

After 48 hours, the patches can be removed at home, and after 72 hours from the placement of the patches, the patient returns to the doctor’s office to have the results “read” by the allergist.  The skin is examined for any reaction. While a reaction to the test does not always mean that the patient is allergic to the specific allergen, it does provide a guide for foods that may be causing the child’s allergic reactions.

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