December 13, 2019
Allergy Retesting 101
Once you get through a battery of allergy testing and find out what’s causing your system to go haywire, you may wonder when or if you should plan to go back in to the allergist for retesting.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. An allergist can give you a suggestion based on your individual situation. If anything changes and you feel it’s necessary to move the timeline up for the initial plan, give them a call to schedule an appointment.
If you find your symptoms worsening even while following the treatment/avoidance plan provided by your allergist, you might consider getting retested in case you developed a new allergy in the meantime. Perhaps the first round of results wasn’t entirely conclusive, and giving it some time may make the overall allergy picture come into clearer focus with a retest.
If you move to a region that harbors a different menu of allergens and find yourself struggling with allergy symptoms, definitely consider going in for a new round of testing. This will include regional allergens that may be plaguing you.
Some people decide to battle their allergies with medication and allergen avoidance as long as they can, and then they finally hit a point where they are ready to try immunotherapy. Because each person receiving immunotherapy gets an extract crafted especially for their specific set of allergies, you would need to be retested before beginning immunotherapy.
When it comes to food allergies, retesting can prove a vital way to ease the burden of food restrictions. Food allergies can lessen and even completely disappear over time. The frequency of testing will depend on the list of allergens, reaction severity, and age.
Milk, egg, and wheat allergies are the most likely to completely resolve over time. More frequent testing for these (for instance, once a year) may show that these allergies are lessening until the foods eventually no longer need to be avoided. On the other hand, peanut, tree nut, and shellfish allergies tend to persist, so annual testing isn’t likely to reveal a major change. Your allergist may suggest this testing every two or three years instead.
Infants and preschoolers often see faster, more drastic changes in their food allergies than older children and adults. It’s not uncommon to test the youngest allergy patients every six months to a year in order to track their progress. Some kids will see food allergies lessen or disappear during the early years while others will experience increased severity or reactions to more allergens. Your allergist’s timetable for retesting will take into account your child’s individual situation.
Receiving an official allergy diagnosis does not mean the relationship with your allergist has ended! In fact, it has only just begun. They will be there to help when you suspect new triggers, when medications don’t work like they once did, and when the time comes to retest.