Family Practitioner Questions Seasonal Allergies

Does a family practitioner test for allergy?

I think I have been suffering from a tomato allergy since I was a kid. It only happens at certain times of the year, where I get hives every time I eat something containing tomatoes. Will it help to visit my family doctor for this test? What would be the best approach?

2 Answers

There are different ways to check for allergies. Skin prick testing is usually done by allergist but some family practitioners have the capabilities. Family physicians check allergies via blood work. There are blood tests that will check for either respiratory allergy profile or a food allergy profile. These tests give an IgE level to try and quantify the level of allergy. The blood tests for this are not as good as the skin prick test but it does give extra information and can be added to your routine blood work.
The first test for food allergies is to withhold the food you suspect and wait to see if your symptoms resolve or remain. When a person suspects a food allergy such as a tomato allergy and wants to confirm it, they can go to their family practice physician (FP) who may be able to order a blood test to screen you for the allergy. The other test that can be done is a skin test. Skin testing is generally considered to provide the most accurate results. Some FP physicians have a technician come and do the testing at their office. More often these days they will refer the person to an allergist who can have the skin testing done. The best approach would be to call the physicians office ahead of time and ask if they provide allergy testing. If they don’t, ask if they can refer you to someone who does.