Food allergies impact millions of people in the United States. Rochester Regional Health’s Food Allergy Program is dedicated to accurate diagnostics and thorough food allergy care. Our specially and specifically trained providers have years of experience in pediatric and adult food allergies, offering the best-trained providers in the region. We are focused on improving your quality of life and helping you and your family find the right and safe foods for you.
Our center provides all-inclusive and patient-specific care for children and adults with suspected or confirmed food allergies. Our doctors utilize both standard skin prick testing and blood testing to help in diagnosing food allergies. We also perform in-office oral food challenges, and we are one of the only centers in Western NY to offer high-risk food challenges, which are the best way to help you truly understand the risk for a reaction. We will help you and your family with a treatment plan that works best for you, providing you with all the help and information you need to best manage food allergies.
Food allergies can range from mild to life-threatening and can cause a wide range of reactions – including anaphylaxis, hives, eczema, asthma, and gastrointestinal issues. Common food allergens include:
Our patients have access to the most recent research and treatments available. We are actively involved in several food allergy research studies, and stay atop current and developing treatment methods. Our providers are leaders in the food allergy field, and are published consistently in scientific journals for their research related to food allergies.
Food allergy testing is imperfect, resulting in false positives that can confuse patients and non-allergists alike, and can sometimes lead to broad and unnecessary food avoidance. We are committed to accurately interpreting allergy test results as well as using food challenges, done on a daily basis by our experienced providers, for patients of all ages (including infants as young as four months old).
Proper food allergy diagnosis is extremely important to identify a food that may cause reactions and to ensure that your quality of life is not negatively impacted by unnecessary food avoidance.
Our team of allergists will spend a significant amount of time reviewing your medical history, asking questions about ingestion history, what happens when you ingest the food, and reaction timing. We use your first appointment to learn about your history, administer or schedule testing (whether skin testing, blood or oral food challenges), and come to the right conclusions about you or your child’s food allergies.
The Food Allergy Program at Rochester Regional offers thorough, comprehensive testing with our team of specially trained allergists. Each has been through specific food allergy training and has experience working with patients of all ages–from babies to adults with sudden and surprising allergies.
Our approach is more aggressive than many, and that is because we want you and your family to be able to eat every single thing you’re able to eat. Food allergies can significantly affect your quality of life, as can cutting out foods that you think you need to eliminate. Our team performs an exceptionally high number of oral food challenges each year, and our dedication to accurate diagnosis is clear at every visit.
The gold standard in food allergy testing, our team performs more than 200 oral food challenges each year. We are dedicated to accurate diagnostics, and oral food challenges are the best, most efficient way to test. We offer them on a daily basis for people of all ages–from infants as young as four months up.
Oral food challenges allow us to establish the most accurate diagnosis of your food allergy when your medical history or previous testing has proven indeterminate. They can also help confirm if tolerance has developed to a known food allergy or if you or your child have outgrown your allergy. Did you know that patients can outgrow a food allergy but still test positive on their skin and blood tests? Oral food challenges can help determine if there is still a definitive need to avoid a food or if reintroduction of the food back into the diet is possible. Oral food challenges are safe and very helpful, and our providers will be by your side throughout the test in case any symptoms occur.
If an oral food challenge is recommended for you or your child, we will gradually feed you measured amounts of the food that is suspected to cause your allergy. Our allergists will monitor you for any reactions that may occur over the next one to two hours. If there is a reaction, your allergist will treat it accordingly. They will then provide any prescriptions, education, or support to ensure that you feel comfortable managing your allergy away from our offices. If no symptoms occur throughout the challenge, you can safely incorporate that food into your diet!
Skin testing for allergies is an extremely safe and common practice, and best done in one of our allergy locations to ensure correctly interpreted results. False positives do occur, and our highly-trained providers will be by your side to ensure we are not unnecessarily eliminating foods you can safely enjoy.
If a skin prick test is recommended for you or your child, we will place small drops of a liquid allergen onto your back or forearm, then gently scratch the top layer of skin to introduce the allergen to the allergies within your skin. No needles or shots are involved. If a food allergy is present, a small, itchy bump will develop. Skin prick test results are available within 15 minutes.
Blood tests are another way we can determine specific food allergies, and to see if you or your child may develop tolerance over time. After drawing your blood, results take 3-5 days, and your allergist will call to discuss the findings. Instead of having you and your family avoid lots of foods, we will help you determine precisely which are safe for you to eat, and be by your side through your treatment.
Avoidance of the allergen is the most comprehensive “treatment” available. Ongoing avoidance measures throughout life will help you avoid accidental ingestion. We are excited that there are new therapies emerging, and are thrilled to be on the forefront of that research.
Also called OIT, oral immunotherapy is a new way to help build a tolerance to small amounts of a certain food over time. The goal of OIT is to decrease sensitivity to the food allergen. By desensitizing you or your child to the allergen, it may lower the risk of life-threatening allergic reactions.
Your food allergy journey can be difficult, and in addition to accurate diagnostics, we prioritize shared decision-making. Your Rochester Regional Health allergist will explain oral immunotherapy if it’s of interest and will help you decide if it is right for you.