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:
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:
A hydrogen breath test provides information about the digestion of certain sugars or carbohydrates, such as milk sugar (lactose) and fruit sugar (fructose). The test is also used for detecting abnormal growth of bacteria within the small bowel. Bacterial overgrowth can cause a variety of symptoms including bloating, diarrhea, burping and abdominal cramps. The test takes ~3 hours.
For four weeks before your test, you should not take any antibiotics.
For one week before your test, avoid any laxatives and stool softeners (for example Colace®, Milk of Magnesia®, Ex-Lax®) or stool bulking agents (for example Metamucil® or Citrucel®). You should also not undergo any test that requires cleansing of the bowel, such as colonoscopy or barium enema.
The day before your test:
For 12 hours before your test:
Download a PDF version of the Hydrogen Breath Test Instructions
Download a Chinese language PDF of the Hydrogen Breath Test Instructions
Download a Spanish language document of the Hydrogen Breath Test Instructions
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
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