Allergy Skin Testing for Wheat

At AACA, we offer a simple, quick, painless, low cost allergy test for wheat allergy. The skin test takes 15 minutes and can often be completed in conjunction with the initial office consultation if antihistamines are withheld for 5 days prior to the appointment.

 

Wheat allergy

Although wheat is one of the top 8 food allergens, wheat allergy is much less frequent than milk, egg, or peanut. Wheat allergy is more common in children and less frequent in adults and affects <1% of the US population. A true wheat allergy involves an immune response with allergy antibody known as IgE. When wheat is ingested, even in small amounts, there is usually a very obvious and immediate allergic response. Common reactions include hives, vomiting, shortness of breath and GI upset. Rarely are stomach complaints the only symptom with true IgE mediated wheat allergy.

Allergy skin tests are very helpful in the diagnosis of wheat allergy. A negative skin test is very accurate and reassuring that wheat allergy is not present. Unfortunately a skin test may give a false positive result so a positive skin test is not as reliable as a negative test. In our experience with most cases regarding wheat allergy, the skin tests are more accurate than blood tests.  

 

Celiac disease

This is an immune reaction to gluten, a major protein found in wheat and other grains. Celiac disease may involve up to 1% of the US population. This reaction does not involve IgE allergy antibody so allergy skin tests are negative and generally not helpful in the diagnosis.

 

Gluten intolerance

This is the most common entity of the three. Most who avoid gluten in their diets and feel better are not celiac or wheat allergic. Allergy skin tests for wheat are negative for those with gluten intolerance.