If you suspect you or someone you love has a food allergy, or have concerns that they do, make sure to bring up your worries to your doctor. Regardless of which type of food allergy testing you do, your doctor and/or Registered Dietitian should always be aware and approve of the testing.

To help you start the conversation with your doctor, we put together a list of questions to ask your healthcare team about food allergy testing. Some of these questions can be applicable to both food allergies and food intolerances.

1. How do I know if I have a food allergy or food intolerance?

This is an important question to ask so that you fully understand your adverse food reactions. Food allergies and food intolerances are very different conditions that require different treatment and unique recovery methods.

Also, this question helps your doctor determine how much knowledge you have and where they should focus their patient education. Your doctor will use the record of your symptoms and a food recall to determine if you are more likely to have a food intolerance or allergy.

2. Are there things I should do before food allergy testing begins?

Depending on certain food allergy tests, there may be specific instructions that you should know about before testing. Since some tests require blood, saliva or skin pricks, there may be important prep that could ultimately affect the testing results.

In order to get to the root of your adverse food reactions, it is imperative that you follow all instructions during testing and after testing as well. Some tests require you to test again and/or confirm your results within a certain amount of time.

3. Which tests measure food allergies versus food intolerances?

Since food intolerances vary greatly from food allergies, make sure you do your research or ask questions about your test. If you’re buying a testing online by yourself, this is extremely important. You don’t want to buy a test for the wrong ailment!

4. How do specific types of tests measure food allergies?

Your doctor is a wealth of information and can describe the food allergy testing that will be conducted, how it works, how it formulates the results and how to interpret the results. Some tests use high tech analyses of your bodily fluids, whereas other “tests” are as simple as a food recall.

5. How can I get in touch with a Registered Dietitian?

Remember that even though a food allergy test provides lots of information, a Registered Dietitian is the ultimate nutrition professional. Despite what you may believe (or what the doctor says), your doctor does not have the highest level of nutrition education.

That’s why it is essential to establish a working relationship with a Registered Dietitian. You can find Dietitians in hospitals, online and in many outpatient clinics. Dietitians can take your test results and translate them to your real life and the goals you want to accomplish.