I do skin-prick tests on most babies and children who I see in my Clinic. Why?
Thomas’s mum said: “Knowing what foods to avoid, by the skin tests, made the world of difference. As soon as I cut eggs out of my diet (I was breastfeeding) his skin cleared up.”
Skin-Prick tests crucial diagnosis
In my Clinic experience, skin-prick testing for foods is extremely useful. In fact it is crucial for diagnosis and understanding the problem. I have been doing these tests for more than 35 years. They are standard allergy tests. They are safe, painless and simple to do (although a positive test can get a bit itchy). This is a precise way to identify the offending foods which can cause immediate (IgE) food allergy reactions. It removes a lot of trial and error.
Many GPs say that skin-prick tests are a waste of time, that they are inaccurate, they can’t be done on babies and painful. My experience is totally the opposite. Have a look at they YouTube to see what I do: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAC0xN55XzA
The bumps in the photo, like mosquito bites, are positive skin tests. These bumps come up within 10 minutes of the allergen test. The skin-prick test measures immediate allergy reactions. It measures the “IgE-sensitivity” to the allergens which have been gently pricked into the skin (it should not hurt). As soon as the allergen gets into the skin, it comes in contact with the allergy cells in your skin (the mast cells), which are packed full of histamine granules. If your mast cells have been sensitized to that specific allergen, then they will immediately release their histamine, which creates the wheal.
The common food allergens that I routinely test for are: cow’s milk, egg white, peanut, soy, wheat, fish and cashew. They are very accurate.
Who should get tested?
Consequently, in my clinic, I do skin-prick testing for all children with eczema.
Skin-prick tests can be done at any age. It is my routine practice to do the first set of skin-prick tests at about three months of age. By this age the baby has usually developed the capacity to mount a specific IgE-response in the skin. But, if the baby has bad eczema in the first few weeks of life, then it is useful to do the skin tests earlier.
A Piece of the Puzzle Newsletter explores the many facets of food-related-disorders.
If you would like to read more about solving these eczema puzzles, then you might like to look at this ebook: “Eczema: Cure It!” by Dr Rodney Ford.
We also offer an online computer programme to help those people who are trying to find out if they could have a food related problem: Dr Rodney Ford’s eClinic.