For people who suffer seasonal or recurring reactions to various trigger substances, allergy testing can be a crucial and necessary step toward receiving proper treatment. If you suspect that your infant is suffering from an allergy, you should consult with your pediatrician as soon as possible because there are several kinds of tests that can be run on infants to determine specific triggers.
Of course, this kind of testing doesn’t come without a price and with finances tight for so many people, that cost may sometimes be prohibitive.
The good news is that most testing of this sort is usually covered by health insurance, helping to keep costs manageable. Even for patients not covered by insurance, there may be discounts available as many doctors charge less to patents who pay by cash or credit card.
The important point to remember is that you should never have to suffer needlessly with a runny nose, wheezing, cough or other symptoms simply because of money troubles.
Types of Allergy Tests
There are two main types of allergy testing, skin prick tests, and blood tests. Each has its limitations and may not be appropriate for every individual, but under the right circumstances, either one can be a good tool for diagnosing allergies and their specific triggers. The cost of each test can vary depending on how many specific triggers are being isolated.
A skin prick test involves the use of a series of tiny injections either on the surface of the skin or directly into the system. Since this type of test exposes the patient to possible allergens, it can be dangerous for those with severe allergic reactions. It can also be counterproductive for patients with skin disorders like eczema that can mask the results.
In most cases, skin prick tests range anywhere from $60 to as much as $300 depending on how many specific triggers are being tested for. For individuals who can tolerate a skin prick test, it is usually quick and the results can be determined visually within a few minutes as the skin reacts.
A blood test, as the name implies, involves drawing blood and testing it to determine if the individual carries certain specific antibodies that make them susceptible to an allergic reaction. It takes longer, sometimes up to seven days, to get results but since there is no direct exposure to possible triggers it is far less likely to cause complications.
Blood tests do tend to be more expensive, however, generally ranging from $200 to $1,000, again depending on how many specific triggers are being isolated. Blood testing is also safer for individuals who are taking medications, so if you have another condition that requires you to take medicine you may want to consider going this route despite the increased cost.
DIY IgE Allergen Tests
There is another option. While there are many at-home allergy tests on the market, it does not take the place of a doctor’s advice, especially if a person’s symptoms are serious.
The aim of a home test kit is to make testing more affordable and accessible to all. A home allergy test will also help you prepare for a doctor’s appointment to address your symptoms.
AllerSmart IgE, based in Vancouver, British Columbia, has an IgE-based allergy test that screens for the “Top 9” US food allergens — peanuts, tree nuts (specified as “Western Nuts”), milk, eggs, soy, wheat, fish, crustacean shellfish and sesame — as well as 29 common environmental allergens including grasses, dust mite, trees, weeds, cat, dog and molds.
Allergy Treatment Plan
Once it is determined what you are allergic to you can develop a treatment plan. This means managing and treating the symptoms rather than the cause. There are numerous medications that can inhibit the release of histamine and other allergy-inducing chemicals. They help alleviate symptoms like redness, itching, swelling, and difficulty of breathing.
You can make changes to your environment and/or daily routine that helps you avoid allergens. You may also choose to use allergen immunotherapy, also known as allergy shots. It is considered a long-term treatment that decreases symptoms for many people with allergic rhinitis, allergic asthma or stinging insect allergy.
As always, talk with your doctor to come up with a plan.
While the cost of testing may seem daunting, it is always better to determine exactly what you are dealing with so that you can properly treat it. The cost of treating your symptoms if you opt to play a guessing game can get far higher than the one time cost of testing, so it is well worth the investment to get tested and set your mind at ease.
Wishing you the best of health