I just got back from doing the skin test for foods. I hate doing these… My ENT office (and now allergist office) first does a scratch test on the inside of your forearms. Then, if you didn’t have a reaction larger than 9mm, they inject the same things right under the skin (intradermal test)… that’s the uncomfortable part.
For the pollens and molds, the nurse then injects you with a weak dose of the irritant. If you don’t have any reactions more than 9mm (the original injection leaves a 5mm lump), then they’ll inject you with a stronger dose. They measure the reactions, and send you home with a measuring tool and paper to fill out. You watch the injection site for 48 hours and note any reactions that occur in that time.
The foods are a bit different. First, apparently, they only test for things that aren’t typically life threatening. They can also only test you for foods you eat frequently (you fill out a survey ahead of time) because you need to already have a bunch in your system… I explained how that works in this post. After the scratch test, they inject you with the strong dose of the foods first. If you DO react above 9mm to the strong dose, they inject the weaker dose so that they can see how sensitive you are.
The food test is the reason I have been so miserable lately, because I can’t take more than half of my medications for 48 hours prior to the testing. During the 48 hours prior to the testing I’m not allowed to take my antihistamine (Xyzal), beta blocker (Bystolic), EoE medication (Ranitidine), or muscle relaxant (cyclobenzaprine). I also can’t take anything that has anti-inflammatory or blood thinning properties, which means I can’t take pretty much any pain medications at all. I’m technically allowed to take my Singulair and Nasacort, but I really don’t want to risk it and have to redo the test, so I hold off on those too. Yeah, not so fun.
Anyway, back to the test. These are the foods they tested: corn, wheat, rice, potatoes, tomatoes, onion, garlic, beef, chicken, beans (mix), cheddar cheese, cane sugar, baker’s yeast, and chocolate. So a decent amount. These are the only foods I really eat constantly. I do eat fruits and other veggies, but not on a regular enough basis to do the skin test. After the strong dose, I had reacted to cheddar, the bean mix, and chocolate. Yes, chocolate. So they gave me the lower dose of those three. I reacted to cheddar and chocolate again at the lower dose. The chocolate ones were the largest at both doses, unfortunately.
Do you realize how much chocolate and cheddar cheese I eat?! (Usually not together.) Of course not, I haven’t told you… right. I have chocolate almost every day if it’s in the house. My willpower against it is pretty much non-existent. And I drink chocolate Ensure and Slimfast on a regular basis. Then, some of my basic go-to meals are burritos and quesadillas. I also put cheddar on my chili and love to just eat it as a snack. So yeah, I eat at least one of these things every day. Luckily, since these aren’t life threatening, there is still hope.
According to the nurse, most of the allergens they find on the skin test can have tolerances built up. She said that Dr N will most likely have me cleanse my system of the allergen, then reintroduce it on a rotational basis. So I can have it every few days until I become immune to it, hopefully! I don’t think I could live without my chocolate and cheese!!!! Okay, I’d probably live… but what kind of life is that?!?!
3am) : For the 48 hours following the test, you’re supposed to closely monitor the injections because you can have delayed reactions. Guess what?! I had a delayed reaction to the baker’s yeast… and it was an 11mm. Damn. Apparently I can have yeast-less bread?! Not very happy about that… (but that would also explain why, as a kid, my binge week for wheat had me reacting, I ate it mostly in bread form). My bean mix injection also became an 11mm, but it was a lot flatter and paler in color, and it didn’t fade from the initial reaction.