allergy and immunology services
Dayton Children’s pediatric allergy and immunology program provides testing and treatment for a wide variety of allergy and immunology conditions, including:
- Food allergy evaluation and testing
- Allergic rhinitis evaluation and testing and immunotherapy
- Medication allergy testing and evaluation
- Food and medication challenges
- Immune deficiency evaluation and treatment
Skin tests are very safe and accurate tests that measure your child's level of antibodies in response to certain allergens or triggers. Using very small amounts of different allergens, your child's physician will either perform an injection, scratch or patch test. A reaction would appear as a small red area. A reaction to the skin test does not always mean your child is allergic to the allergen that caused the reaction. This will be determined by your child's physician. If your child has a history of severe or life threatening reaction to a known allergen, a skin test is usually not performed.
Blood tests for allergies measure antibodies to specific allergens in the blood. The blood test most commonly used is called RAST (radioallergosorbent test). Blood tests may be used when skin tests cannot by performed.
Sometimes, even after performing skin prick and blood tests, an allergist is unable to arrive at a definitive diagnosis. In this case, you may be asked to undergo an oral food challenge (OFC), a highly accurate diagnostic test for food allergy. This type of testing can result in more severe reactions and should only be performed by an experienced allergist at a medical facility where the appropriate medications and equipment are available.
During the food challenge, the allergist feeds your child the suspect food in measured doses, starting with very small amounts that are unlikely to trigger symptoms. Following each dose, your child is observed for a period of time for any signs of a reaction. If there are no symptoms, your child will gradually receive increasingly larger doses. If your child shows any signs of a reaction, the food challenge will be stopped.
If your child has no symptoms, food allergy can be ruled out. If the test confirms that your child does have a food allergy, your allergist will discuss food avoidance techniques and prescribe appropriate medications.