Ask the allergist is a regular feature in our newsletters where Canadian allergists answer your questions!
Dr. Julia Upton is on staff at the Hospital for Sick Children in the Immunology and Allergy Department; and an Associate Professor in the Department of Paediatrics at the University of Toronto. She is the past Section Chair of the Anaphylaxis and Food Allergy Section of the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. Dr. Upton is also a member of our Healthcare Advisory Board.
Please note: Dr. Upton is answering as an individual allergist and her answers do not constitute an official position of her affiliated organizations. Her responses are for informational purposes only and do not constitute specific medical advice, recommendations, diagnosis, or treatment. Please talk to your doctor about any concerns or questions you may have regarding your own health or the health of your child.
This month she answers a question about oral food challenges.
Once someone passes an oral food challenge (OFC) for a particular food, do they need to keep that food in their diet?
In most cases, OFCs are done to rule out a food allergy, when it’s thought that a person is not allergic or no longer allergic to a food. A successful OFC to a serving sized amount is the medically supervised introduction; the next step is to eat the food normally.
The general advice after a successful OFC is to incorporate the food in the diet routinely and this is done for multiple reasons. An important reason is to make the small risk of the OFC worth taking due to the benefit of expanding the diet. Another reason is to reduce the chance of the allergy returning.
Many allergists advise keeping one’s epinephrine auto-injector available until the person is reliably and convincingly eating the food without allergic reaction.
To learn more
Do you have a food allergy-related question you’d like to ask an allergist in the months to come? If so, send it along to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note: The allergists in this series answer questions on general topics, please talk to your doctor if you have questions about your own health or the health of your child.
Tags: ask the allergist, dr upton, oral food challenge