If your family thinks that you may have allergies, they may point you to an allergist (a doctor specializing in diagnosing and treating allergies) to conduct a thorough research. but how much allergy testing cost? Previously let’s see what the doctor will do?
The allergist will ask you questions like:
- What symptoms do you notice when you have a reaction? (For example, blisters or itchy throat)
- How often do you have reactions?
- How much time usually elapses between the ingestion of a certain food and the onset of symptoms?
- Does any member of your family have any type of allergy, eczema or asthma?
Probably the allergist will do some tests. Skin tests are the most commonly used to diagnose allergies. Puncture or scarification tests consist of placing liquid extracts of allergens (that is, substances – such as pollen or certain foods – that usually cause allergic reactions in people with allergies), on the forearm or back of the patient and then performing pinchacitos (puncture) or cortecitos (scarification) in the skin. The allergist will wait approximately 15 minutes to check if reddish and bulky spots (called papules) are formed, allergy indicators.
Allergists can also perform a similar test, called intradermal, under the surface of the skin. This type of test is often used to diagnose environmental allergies.
If the allergist suspects that a patient of yours may be allergic to more than one thing-or is not clear about what triggers the allergic symptoms-he or she will probably have a skin test with several allergens at the same time.
Skin tests to diagnose allergy can cause itching. In this case, the allergist may give you an antihistamine or a cream that contains corticosteroids after the test to calm your itching.
Tests for different types of allergies
Allergists use skin tests to diagnose environmental allergies. But, when it comes to food allergies, they follow a different procedure. When a person receives a skin test that is positive for a particular food, that only means that that person could be allergic to that food. In these cases, it is most likely that the allergist wants to continue doing tests.
To make a clear diagnosis of food allergy, allergists can request blood tests, apart from skin tests. This involves removing a sample of blood from the patient and sending it to a laboratory for analysis. In the laboratory, IgE antibodies to specific foods will be searched. If enough IgE antibodies are detected in a person’s blood to a particular food, it means that the person is very likely to be allergic to that food.
Doctors often use a combination of skin tests and blood tests to diagnose food allergies. If both offer positive results, it will not be necessary to continue testing.
But if the results of the skin tests and / or the blood tests are not clear, it is possible that the allergist decides to do what is known as a “provocation test”. This test consists of administering to the patient progressively greater quantities of the supposed food allergen while the doctor observes his symptoms or reactions carefully.
Since food allergies can trigger severe reactions in some people, the challenge test can involve significant risks. That is why it has to be carried out in the consultation of an allergist or in a hospital where medicines and specialists can be immediately accessed to control possible reactions such as anaphylaxis (a very strong allergic reaction that can endanger the life of the affected ). Doctors use the provocation test to diagnose food allergies on rare occasions. Most of the time this test is done to find out if someone has overcome an allergy that had previously been diagnosed.
If an allergist diagnoses an allergy to a patient, it will recommend a treatment to control it. This will depend on the specific type of allergy diagnosed. If it is an environmental allergy, you may be prescribed oral or injectable medications. If it is a food allergy, it will indicate ways to avoid the food allergen (s).
Allergy Testing Cost
For a patient who is not covered by health insurance, an allergy test typically costs between $ 150 and $ 300 for a visit with an allergist, plus $ 60 to $ 300 in total ($ 3 to $ 5 per allergen). ($ 10 to $ 20 per allergen) for a blood test known as a RAST test.
For patients covered by health insurance, typical out-of-pocket costs involve a copayment for the doctor’s visit. For example, this BlueChoice plan has a copayment of $ 20 for a family doctor and $ 35 for a specialist. And this Aetna plan has a $ 35 co-pay for the tests.
What should be included:
- A skin test involves pricking or scratching the surface of the skin, usually on the back or forearm, and applying suspect allergens. Several suspected allergens are usually tested at the same time, and if redness or swelling develops in one or more of the sites, usually in 20 minutes, that confirms the allergy.
- A blood test, usually performed when the patient takes medications that could interfere with a skin test or has a serious skin condition such as eczema or psoriasis, or has very dark skin, involves taking a blood sample and sending it to a laboratory.
If tests reveal an allergy, allergy shots, also called immunotherapy, may be recommended. These can cost almost $ 4,000 during the first year without insurance, but are less expensive in subsequent years since fewer vaccines are needed. The treatment usually lasts three to five years.