ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS
YOU MAY HAVE
Frequently Asked Questions
If it is a new consultation, your appointment can take up to 60 minutes.
If there is a chance you may need allergy skin prick testing, you will be asked to hold off antihistamine medication for the 4 days before your appointment, as this can interfere with the accuracy of the test.
You should bring your referral, any relevant imaging, Medicare card and health fund card.
Additional information such as current medications, discharge summaries and previous relevant investigations are also helpful.
- Using a pen, your arms are marked up with identifying numbers.
- A drop of allergen (eg. grass pollens, cat, dust mites, etc.) is placed next to each number.
- A tiny flick with a lancet (not even as painful as a pin prick!) allows the allergen just under the top layer of your skin.
- After about 10-15 minutes your skin may have reacted to some of the allergens by appearing as a small area of swelling, redness and itchiness.
- These reactive areas are measured and soothing cream is applied.
- Your results are discussed with you.
The test scratches your skin very lightly. The test is well tolerated by the majority of patients. In fact, the major irritation relates to itching from a positive test.
Skin prick testing can carry a very small risk of an allergic response and in extremely rare circumstances can cause anaphylaxis.
It can be difficult to tell the difference between the symptoms of food allergy and food intolerance. Generally, symptoms caused by a food allergy develop very quickly after eating the food in question. Symptoms of food intolerance can be more delayed and are usually related to the amount of food consumed. An individual with food intolerance may be able to eat smaller amounts of the offending food without experiencing symptoms. Food intolerance can have a significant negative impact on a person’s quality of life, but unlike a food allergy, does not carry a risk of dangerous or life-threatening reactions.
Food allergy can be tested for with skin prick testing or blood tests. These tests are not useful for food intolerance.
Sometimes a food allergy may need to be confirmed with a medically supervised oral food challenge.
As validated diagnostic tests for food intolerance are usually lacking, the main method to confirm a food intolerance is temporary elimination of the suspected food substance from the diet, followed by re-challenge to reproduce the symptoms.
Dr Adriana Le’s consultation is by GP referral, so please talk to your GP about
getting tested or treated for allergies