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The Allergy Division is divided into the General Allergy Section and the Food Allergy Center and provides diagnosis and care for individuals with a sometimes overlapping spectrum of disorders including the following:
Almost all of the symptoms listed above can be caused by a number of contributing factors in a given individual and can at times, overlap with one another (for example allergy to cats can cause asthma, rhinitis, urticarial and worsening eczema). To determine your allergy, we will typically start with a detailed medical history combined with a physical examination and specific diagnostic testing.
The testing that we do consists of only what we consider necessary to make a diagnosis.
If you are being evaluated for respiratory or food allergy, insect sting allergy or some cases of drug allergy we would like to minimize the number of visits that you need for a diagnosis to be made. The following measures will expedite your evaluation:
At your initial visit expect to spend two hours with us. We will conduct:
Please bring the food that you or your child will be challenged with and your auto-injectable epinephrine (Epi-Pen/auvi-Q) to the appointment.
If you have questions, please call our office.
Stop any oral antihistamine medications. This includes Benadryl (diphenhydramine), Zyrtec (cetirizine), Claritin (loratidine), Allegra (fexofenadine), and Atarax (hydroxyzine). There are many other antihistamines, so it is important to read all medication labels carefully, especially over-the-counter allergy/sinus/cold medications. If you have any questions, or if you take any of these medications within 1 week of the challenge, please contact our clinic.
If you have asthma, please continue your daily inhaled steroid medications for asthma (Flovent, Advair, Pulmicort, Symbicort, Asmanex) and/or Singulair.
If you use albuterol, Xopenex or any bronchodilator medication more than two times (except prior to exercise) in the week before the food challenge, please contact our clinic.
You can continue inhaled steroid nasal sprays (Flonase, Nasonex, Rhinocort), but please
Stop antihistamine nasal sprays (Astelin, Astepro).
You can have only clear liquids (e.g., water, fruit juices that have no pulp, sports drinks, popsicles) for 2 hours prior to the challenge.
Please arrive on time.
During the challenge, vital signs, oxygen saturation, breath sounds, and skin assessments will be performed regularly. We will also ask you to note any signs or symptoms that you observe and report them immediately to us.
You will be in the clinic for several hours. Please bring something to occupy yourself such as a laptop, book, ipad, etc.
During the challenge, no other food should be ingested.
Following the food challenge, you will be given specific recommendations depending upon the outcome of the challenge.
Please do not hesitate to call our clinic for any questions or concerns: 617-636-0136 (pediatrics) and 617-636-5333 (adults)
Download a PDF version of the Food Challenge Preparation Instructions
Download a Chinese language PDF of the Food Challenge Preparation Instructions
Download a Spanish language document of the Food Challenge Preparation Instructions