Categories: Laboratory Tests
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December 22, 2020

How much does Food Allergy test cost?

By Concierge at AffordableScan | 4 min read

There are four types of food sensitivity tests commonly used for US adult and adolescent population to measure prevalence of allergic reaction in bodies. Let's start by first explaining the key terms. According to Mayo clinic, a Food allergy is an immune system reaction that occurs soon after eating a certain food. There are three types of reaction of body to allergen - food allergy, food sensitivity & food intolerance:

QuestionFood allergyFood sensitivityFood intolerance
Immune system involved?YesNoNo
Examples of foods involvedTop 8 most common allergens: egg, milk tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish peanut, and crustacean shellfishVaries by person and can impact foods you consume oftenFermentable carbs: milk, legumes, vegetables, fruits, grains and sweeteners
Frequent symptoms after eating the foodRapid, often within minutes or secondsWithin a few hours to few daysWithin 30 minutes to 2 days after eating
Symptoms examplesTrouble swallowing or breathing, nausea, vomiting, hivesHeadaches, joint pain, digestive issues, skin issues, feeling of being unwellMost common are digestive issues
Amount of food needed to cause symptomsTinyVaries depending on your degree of sensitivityGenerally worse with larger amounts of problem foods
How it’s testedSkin prick tests or blood tests of IgE levels to specific allergensMany tests are available with uncertain validityBreath tests may identify fermentable carb intolerances
Age of diagnosisCan appear at any ageCan appear at any ageVaries, but lactose intolerance is most likely in adults.
Prevalence1–3% of adults; 5–10% of childrenUncertain but suspected to be common15–20% of the adult population
Can you get rid of it?Kids may outgrow milk, egg, soy and wheat allergiesMay be able to consume a food again without symptoms after you avoid it for several months and address any underlying issuesCan minimize symptoms by limiting or avoiding problem foods in the long term

Food allergy vs food sensitivity

Your body's first defense against invaders such as bacteria, common cold virus, fungus is your immune system. Sometimes this system misfires to elements in food that do not directly cause harm to your body and this presents to you as a food allergy. The most frequent reaction is the IgE immunoglobin E mediated reaction, which are triggered when your body releases chemicals like histamine in your blood flow.

Common food allergy symptoms

It varies by each body, but in most cases food allergies tend to be mostly uncomfortable. However, in some cases this allergic reaction to food can induce life-threatening situation where immediate medical response is required right away. In those cases please call 911 to seek medical help.

Frequent food allergy symptoms:

  • Feeling a tingling in the mouth
  • Itching, eczema or hives
  • Swelling of body tissue including face, lips, tongue and throat
  • Abdominal pain, commonly occurring diarrhea, or vomiting

Anaphylaxis

For some people, such allergies can lead to a severe reaction called anaphylaxis. This can cause life-threatening signs and symptoms, and you should seek medical care right away:

  • A swollen throat or the sensation of a lump in your throat that makes it difficult to breathe
  • Tightening & constriction of the airways
  • Rapid pulse
  • Loss of consciousness

Emergency treatment is critical for anaphylaxis. Untreated, this can result in a coma or death.

Food sensitivities

Food sensitivities are more common than food allergies according to the British Allergy Foundation. It does not involve reaction from the body immune system.

Food allergy test costs

For a patient without insurance, the patient can expect to pay $150-$300 for a consultation with an allergist plus anywhere for:

  • Skin prick allergy test: $60-$280
  • Intradermal allergy test price: - $80 - $400
  • Blood test for allergy cost: $200 - $1,000
  • Patch test for allergy cost: usually $5-15 per allergen which translates to $200 - $600

Most allergy testing is usually covered by insurance. However a high deductible patient is expected to pay the full list price before the insurance kick-in.

Please note, in a case of serious allergy doctors might recommend immunotherapy, which can cost up to $4K for a full procedure. Treatment usually takes up to 3-5 years.

Food sensitivity test costs

In most cases as these are not considered medical diagnosis and as a result they tend to to be covered by insurance. The prices are very similar, the blood test can be around $200-$600. At home tests start at $60-150.

Where can you get tested for food allergy?

Your allergist might offer an onsite test for skin prick, intradermal or patch test allergy procedures. If you are suggested a blood test, then you might use a local quest lab or labcorp facility to get yourself tested.

Tips for getting an affordable allergy sensitivity test

  • Shop around for the best price (see the facilities in your area)
  • Don’t hesitate to ask for discounts for allergy testing
  • Ask about all the fees for your test, does it include a follow-on session with allergologist?
  • Don't follow your doctor direction blindly and first check if your insurance covers that facility, if you haven't met your yearly deductible, you might be better of paying out of pocket
Concierge at AffordableScan | 4 min read

The concierge team at AffordableScan works with top experts & doctors in the industry to publish the latest research & news on affordable medical care in the US.