Food Sensitivity / Food Allergy Test
Typically blood (venipuncture)
Ages 18+ only; Could vary by provider
Typically 48-72 hours
Food Allergy Testing
Getting tested for food allergies is important for preventing unnecessary avoidance of food and reducing your risk of potentially life-threatening allergic reactions.
What are the symptoms of food allergies?
Common symptoms of food allergies according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) include:
- Tingling or itching in the mouth
- Swelling of the lips, tongue, or throat
- Hives or rash
- Nausea or vomiting
- Diarrhea or abdominal pain
- Difficulty breathing or wheezing
- Dizziness or fainting
- Anaphylaxis (a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction that can affect several systems in the body)
It is important to note that not all food allergies cause the same symptoms, and the severity of symptoms can vary from person to person. In some cases, symptoms may not appear until several hours after consuming the allergenic food, according to the AAAAI.
What does animal and food allergy testing consist of?
Food allergy testing consists of an allergist or other medical provider assessing your medical history, in addition to allergy testing techniques such as:
- Skin testing
- Blood testing
- Oral challenge testing
Types of food allergy tests
Skin prick test
The skin prick test evaluates the response of your skin to the presence of a food allergen. According to the NLM, the allergist will place a small amount of the food allergen into the skin on your forearm or back. Using a needle or plastic device, the allergist will slightly scratch or cut the skin surface allowing a very small amount of the allergen to enter the skin. You are unlikely to feel any pain, and there is no bleeding.
If you or your child have been sensitized to the food, your body will react and produce a bump at the center of red itchy skin, known as a wheal. The size of the wheal indicates the likelihood of a food allergy, reports the NLM. However, the size of the wheal does not accurately predict a food allergy. The absence of a wheal is an indication that you are most likely not allergic to the food.
A food allergy blood test evaluates the levels of inflammatory compounds formed by your immune system (known as IgE antibodies) after exposure to an allergen. A healthcare professional will use a small needle to collect blood into a test tube from a vein in your arm or hand—then send the blood for laboratory testing. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI), a blood draw lasts for a few minutes, and you may experience mild discomfort when the needle is inserted and removed from the vein.
Oral food challenge (OFC) test
An oral food challenge test (OFC) can be done in several ways. According to the NLM, the OFC can be done in an open challenge with both you and the allergist aware of the food you are eating, a single-blind challenge when you are unaware of the food, and a double-blinded placebo-controlled challenge with both you and the allergist unaware of the food you are eating. You and your child will be less likely to have a double-blinded placebo OFC challenge time because it takes a long time and is less commonly done.
Who should get a drug allergy test?
You should consider getting a food allergy test for you and your child if you develop symptoms of an allergic reaction typically within two hours after exposure or eating certain types of food.
You may also consider food allergy testing if you or your child have risk factors for food allergies. According to the AAAAI, your risk for food allergies is increased with the following:
- An immediate family member has any allergic disease
- Severe eczema: Genetic mutations in the filaggrin gene have been associated with both food allergy and increased eczema severity
- Other food allergies
How to get a food allergy test
Food allergy tests are provided by healthcare providers at clinics and urgent care centers. However, the AAAAI recommends getting tested by an allergist (a doctor with expertise and specialized training) if you have food allergy symptoms or another food-related condition.
At-home food allergy tests are an option, these tests can be purchased from pharmacies and online retailers and provide detailed instructions about how to perform the test safely and send it to a lab for evaluation. It is important to note that these tests may not be as sensitive as medical-grade testing, and the ACAAI recommends medical-grade testing if you are experiencing bothersome symptoms.
You can use Solv to locate nearby testing providers. Solv features a directory of all top-rated testing providers—including those that do allergy testing. You can also book an appointment directly from the Solv website.
What to expect during food allergy testing
During food allergy testing, you can expect the allergist to start by asking you questions about your symptoms to establish a history or allergic reaction to food. The allergist will ask questions about the food that you or your child eat, the characteristics of your symptoms, frequency, and how long it takes for you to develop symptoms after eating.
According to the National Library of Medicine (NLM), these are some of the questions you may need to answer before the test:
- Did you or your child eat eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, cow’s milk, shellfish, wheat, soy, or tinned fish two hours before your symptoms started?
- Did you or your child eat the food before?
- Did you or your child experience a reaction when you ate the food in the past?
- At what age or when did the allergic reactions to the food start?
- How was the food prepared? Did it have large or small amounts of the suspected food allergen?
- What symptoms did you or your child experience during the reaction?
The answers to these questions will help identify the type of food allergy and provide details about the type of allergic reaction involved. Once the allergist identifies the suspect food allergen, they can conduct a skin prick test, blood test, or both to confirm the diagnosis. If the results of these tests are inconclusive, the allergist may need to do an oral food challenge (OFC) test.
How to prepare for a food allergy test
Preparing for a food allergy test can involve several steps, depending on the type of test that will be performed. Here are some general guidelines to follow, according to the ACAAI:
- Consult with your healthcare provider: Before undergoing any type of allergy test, it is important to talk to your healthcare provider. They can help you understand the risks and benefits of the test, as well as what to expect during and after the procedure.
- Review your medications: Certain medications can interfere with allergy test results, so it is important to let your healthcare provider know about any medications you are currently taking. According to the ACAAI, antihistamines should be avoided for up to seven days before skin testing, as they can interfere with the skin's reaction to allergens. Other medications, such as corticosteroids and tricyclic antidepressants, can also affect test results.
- Avoid allergenic foods: If you suspect that you have a food allergy, you should avoid the allergenic food(s) for at least two weeks prior to the test. This will help to ensure that your body is not actively reacting to the allergen, which can lead to false negative results. However, it is important to consult with your healthcare provider before making any changes to your diet.
- Stay hydrated: Adequate hydration can help to prevent fainting or dizziness during blood testing. The ACAAI recommends drinking plenty of fluids before and after the test.
- Dress appropriately: If you will be undergoing a skin prick test, it is important to wear clothing that will allow easy access to your forearms, as this is where the test is usually performed.
Risks of food allergy testing
There is some inherent risk associated with food allergy testing, according to the NLM. During the OFC and skin prick test, an allergen will be introduced into your body—creating a risk of having a severe reaction to the test. You may also develop minor skin irritation, pain, or a minor bleed from the skin test or blood draw. The sight of blood may cause you or your child to faint.
Understanding your food allergy test results
Results from skin allergy tests are usually available within 15 to 20 minutes, according to the ACAAI. Your provider can discuss your results during your appointment. Results from blood allergy tests are usually available after several days, as it requires your provider to send your sample to the lab for evaluation.
Can I get an at-home food allergy test?
There are some at-home allergy testing kits available for purchase, however, at-home tests may not be as sensitive as medical-grade tests. It is best to see a medical provider if you suspect a food allergy, according to the ACAAI.
Cost of food allergy testing
The cost of food allergy testing in the USA can vary widely depending on the type of test, the location, the provider, and insurance coverage. Average costs, according to the Healthcare Bluebook, a website that provides estimates of fair prices for healthcare services, the price range for food allergy testing ranges from a couple of hundred dollars to several thousand dollars.
What foods commonly cause an allergic reaction?
There are many foods that can cause allergic reactions, but some are more common than others. Here are the top eight foods that account for the majority of food allergies, according to the ACAAI:
- Cow's milk
- Tree nuts (such as almonds, cashews, and walnuts)
- Shellfish (such as shrimp, crab, and lobster)
It is important to note that food allergies can develop to any food, and some people may be allergic to foods that are not on this list. In addition, some people may be allergic to more than one type of food.
How lab tests work
How lab tests work
Order your test
Easily browse and book lab tests in a wide variety of categories.
Visit a lab
With over 2,000 labs and urgent care clinics to choose from, select the best location for you.
Get results online
Receive your results securely and quickly, including charts and explanations.
Why use Solv?
Testing designed for you
We've partnered with over 2000 lab testing centers and urgent cares to get the answers you need.
Flexible ways to pay
Use insurance for a doctor-prescribed lab, or simply pay for a self-ordered test.
Use your results and insights to take action on your health.
Safe and secure
CLIA certified, secure bank-grade encryption, HIPAA compliant.
Reviewed by physicians
Board-certified physicians review your results before you receive them.
As seen in the press
10+ million patients trust Solv
“The app is great. Easiest way to make an appointment and get lab results”
“So easy and minimal wait in line for lab work”
“This is my third or fourth time using the app. So fast and convenient, very easy app to use.”
“I love this app! It's quick and easy to schedule an appointment. Thank you for simplifying the process.”
Food Allergy FAQs
Find answers to the most commonly asked questions about lab tests.
- Skin symptoms; flushing, itching, and swelling
- Upper respiratory reactions; sneezing, runny nose, and congestionBreathing symptoms; difficulty breathing, wheezing, and coughing
- Digestive symptoms; nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea
- Circulatory symptoms; lightheadedness, fainting, and low blood pressure
This publication is not intended to solicit the purchase of laboratory testing from any individual consumer.
Dr. Rob Rohatsch currently serves as Chief Medical Officer for Solv Health. Dr. Rohatsch brings his extensive background in multi-site ambulatory medicine operations, on-demand healthcare, and consumerism to Solv, where he helps drive strategic initiatives in a cross functional executive role. He brings comprehensive healthcare expertise ranging from medical group operations to revenue cycle management and clinical expertise.
Dr. Rohatsch completed his military service in the US Air Force and earned his MD from Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University. Dr. Rohatsch served on the Yale School of Medicine faculty teaching at the medical school and is currently on faculty at the Haslam School of Business at the University of Tennessee teaching in the Executive MBA Program. He also serves on several boards and chairs The TJ Lobraico Foundation.
Shop all lab test categories
Diagnosing STDs is an important part of everyday health for both men and women. These tests and panels help assess and diagnose common sexually-transmitted infections.
View all 11 tests
Getting tested for Hepatitis can be key to ensuring you're healthy. These tests will help diagnose Hepatitis A, B, and C.
View all 3 tests
Getting allergy testing is vital for identifying and avoiding triggers to allergic reactions, reducing your risk of anaphylaxis, and improving your overall quality of life.
View all 11 tests
Women's Health Tests
When it comes to optimizing their well-being, women can complete screenings to ensure that they are healthy. These tests and panels help assess risk for certain diseases and medical conditions.
View all 7 tests
Men's Health Tests
When it comes to optimizing their well-being, men can complete screenings to ensure that they are healthy. These tests and panels help assess risk for certain diseases and medical conditions.
View all 4 tests
Family Planning, Pregnancy & Fertility Testing
Fertility testing can enable educated decisions about pregnancy and family planning. These tests help men and women evaluate markers related to sexual health, pregnancy, and fetal development.
View all 4 tests
Designed for athletes training at high volumes and intensities, these fitness profiles can give insights to help optimize your training.
View all 3 tests
Diabetes testing can help diagnose, and evaluate how well your diabetes plan is working. These tests measure blood glucose, and Hemoglobin A1c.
View all 2 tests
Drug tests help check for the presence of amphetamines, benzodiazepines, marijuana metabolite, cocaine metabolite, opiates, and oxycodone in the urine.
View all 4 tests
Infectious Disease Testing
Infectious disease testing can help you understand your status and enable you to seek treatment for bacterial or viral infections.
View all 12 tests
Regardless if you have symptoms or are asymptomatic, COVID-19 tests can check for active infections or immunity antibodies.
View all 3 tests
Vitamin Deficiency & Nutrition Testing
Vitamin and nutrition testing can help you get a better understanding of your overall health. These tests will measure your mineral and vitamin levels.
View all 3 tests
Gut Health Test
Gut health tests can detect, monitor, and potentially expose future disorders. These tests help identify bacterial infections, autoimmune disorders, and more.
View all 4 tests
General Wellness Tests
General health and wellness tests can assess your risk for certain diseases and medical conditions. These general health panels check important biometric markers for both men and women.
View all 19 tests
Thyroid disorders can affect any system of your body and treatment will depend on the specific thyroid condition. These tests can help diagnose and monitor thyroid function in both men and women.
View all 2 tests
Find labs by state
In the event of a medical emergency, dial 911 or visit your closest emergency room immediately.
The content provided here and elsewhere on the Solv Health site or mobile app is provided for general informational purposes only. It is not intended as, and Solv Health, Inc. does not provide, medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always contact your healthcare provider directly with any questions you may have regarding your health or specific medical advice.