Can you get tested for a peanut allergy?

If you think you are allergic to peanuts, you should see your doctor. He or she may send you to an allergist for testing. The allergist will go through a step-by-step process to determine if you are truly allergic to peanuts. First, your doctor will ask about past reactions: when did you have allergy symptoms, what were the symptoms and how long ago they appeared after you ate something with nuts in it. He or she will also want to know about your family history and whether any of your parents have any food allergies. The allergist may perform a physical examination to rule out other possible problems you may have.

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If your doctor is still unsure that your problem is nuts, he or she may ask you to record what you eat and what happens when you eat them. He or she may also try an elimination diet, where you eliminate certain possible causes from your diet for a few weeks, then slowly introduce them one by one to determine where the problem lies. However, this diet is not safe when your reaction is severe.

After all this, your allergist may decide to do a skin test, a blood test or both. In a skin test, the doctor will prick or lightly scratch your skin and put a small amount of liquid allergen into the wound. If any of the various allergens he is testing causes a red bump where you were pricked, it means you are allergic to that allergen. Blood tests are considered less accurate than skin tests. In a blood test, a sample of your blood is sent to a laboratory that is mixed with various allergens. Once mixed, the blood is checked for immunoglobulin E, which is the antibody that causes an allergic reaction to be produced. If so, this indicates that you are allergic to the allergen being tested.

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