Food allergies affect millions of individuals in the United States today. Determining what allergy you have is a matter of getting the right allergy tests done. The most common food allergy tests are skin or blood tests. This cost for food allergy tests will vary considerably, depending on what type you need to have done.
How do you know if you need to be tested for food allergies though? A good indicator that you should be tested is if you suffer from one or more of the following unexplained symptoms:
- Swelling in your face, lips, tongue, throat, or other place in your body
- Itching or tingling in your mouth
- Eczema, itching, or hives
- Difficulty breathing, nasal congestion, or wheezing
- Nausea, diarrhea, or throwing up
You might even suffer from unexpected fainting, dizziness, or lightheaded feelings. In the case of these more serious symptoms, you should not let the potential cost of taking food allergies deter you. Some food allergies can be so severe that they are even life threatening.
Allergy Tests Alone Are Usually Not Sufficient
The cost of food allergy tests should run you more than just the tests themselves. This is because getting such allergy tests done by themselves is usually not adequate. You should begin the process with a thorough doctor’s examination that includes getting your medical history before you take any diagnostic tests. Should the doctor’s exam and your medical history be indicative of allergies, then taking these tests will likely assist you in finding out what foods you are allergic to.
There are less expensive and even sometimes free food allergy screenings offered by a number of supermarkets and drugstores throughout the country. Home kits for testing food allergies by yourself or with a loved one are even available these days. Unfortunately, the results of such less expensive methods of testing can be dangerously misleading. Incorrect analysis from such tests can lead to the following negative consequences:
- The free screenings and home testing kits for food allergies do not always give reliable results
- Such tests could claim that you have a food allergy when you actually do not in what is known as a “false positive”
- Test results that are unreliable can cause you to make unneeded changes to what you eat
As an example, if a test claims that you are allergic to some important foods like milk, eggs, soy, or wheat, you would likely quit eating such foods. Unfortunately, many of these ingredients (especially soy) are commonly found in most every food in America today. This would result with you eating a poor diet, spending still more money on food that is special for your needs, and worrying unnecessarily. The intangible costs of saving money on an unreliable food test result can be huge.
Referrals For The Two Types of Food Allergy Tests May Be Necessary
The proper way to go about having these tests done is to have your doctor order you the correct food allergy tests. Your medical history could indicate that you have a food allergy. Many times your doctor will then refer you to see an immunologist who specializes in treating allergies or an allergist to have the testing done.
They will likely give you either of the two main tests for a food allergy. Skin tests are the most frequently used type of allergy test. In this, they will prick your skin using a needle with a minute amount of some food that you could be allergic to. The other form of test is a blood test. Doctors often use these if you suffer from rashes and hives or take a prescribed medication that might interfere with a skin test’s results.
The Actual Cost of Food Allergy Tests
The actual test for the food allergy will vary depending on which type you need to have done. Skin allergy tests commonly run from $60 to $300. Blood tests for food allergies often range from $200 to $1,000.
The costs for the tests may be covered by your health insurance if your doctor prescribes them. In this case, you would likely only have to pay your share of the co-payment. There is no doubt that having insurance will greatly reduce the cost of the doctor’s exam, any referrals to a specialist, and possibly the actual food test as well.
If you suspect that you have a food allergy, do not suffer needlessly. These allergies can be an unnecessary inconvenience, or they could be life threatening. When you are ready to get started with diagnosing your food allergy, we are here to help you. Call us today at 205-352-9141.