Skin Food Challenge
Evaluates how your body handles physical contact with a food allergen
Foods that you or your child are allergic to can cause allergy symptoms when eaten but also sometimes when they come in contact with the skin. To determine whether or not this is likely to be the case for you or your child, a skin food challenge can be performed. When both you and your allergist feel it is safe and appropriate, a generous amount of your food allergen would be applied to the surface of your skin, typically on the arm, and you would be monitored for 10-15 minutes to see if any symptoms develop. If symptoms do begin to develop, they are usually minor and localized to the skin, your allergen is immediately washed off your skin, and any appropriate medical treatment is provided (this is usually not necessary). If no symptoms occur, your allergen is washed off and the skin area is examined for any signs of minor allergic activation.
Most of the time when a skin food challenge is undertaken, especially when done after someone has been on their SLIT treatment for some time, there is no sign of any type of allergic activation. This experience and knowledge can be incredibly freeing, and can give you or your child a sense of comfort about many types of public or group situations in which skin contact with allergenic foods may occur. After a passed skin food challenge, many children are able to sit with their friends for lunch at school, which can sometimes change everything. There is less anxiety about plane travel, and less worry about what may be on public surfaces in general. The more scenarios that can be undertaken safely, the less isolating being a person with allergies has to be.