First, you want to find out what type of testing do you need to do. US doctors prescribe various skin & blood tests in the US to determinate presence of allergic reaction allergic reaction in human bodies to small amounts of food. These vary by the body reaction:
|Question||Food allergy||Food sensitivity||Food intolerance|
|Immune system response involved?||Yes||No||No|
|Examples of foods involved||Top 8 most common allergens: egg, milk tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish peanut, and crustacean shellfish||Varies by person and can include foods you consume often||Fermentable carbs: milk, legumes, vegetables, fruits, grains and sweeteners|
|Frequent symptoms after eating the food||Rapid, often within minutes or seconds||Within a few hours to few days||Within 30 minutes to 2 days after eating|
|Symptoms examples||Trouble swallowing or breathing, nausea, vomiting, hives||Headaches, joint pain, digestive issues, skin issues, feeling of being unwell||Most common are digestive issues|
|Amount of food needed to cause symptoms||Tiny||Varies depending on your degree of sensitivity||Generally worse with larger amounts of problem foods|
|How it’s tested||Skin prick tests or blood sample tests of IgE antibodies levels to specific allergens||Many tests are available with uncertain validity||Breath tests may identify fermentable carb intolerances|
|Age of diagnosis||Can appear at any age||Can appear at any age||Varies, but lactose intolerance is most likely in adults.|
|Prevalence||1–3% of adults; 5–10% of children||Uncertain but suspected to be common||15–20% of the adult population|
|Can you get rid of it?||Kids may outgrow milk, egg, soy and wheat allergies||May be able to consume a food again without symptoms after you avoid it for several months and address any underlying issues||Can minimize symptoms by limiting or avoiding problem foods in the long term|
Your immune system is your best body’s defense against invaders like bacteria, fungus, or the common cold virus. You have a food allergy when your immune system identifies a protein in what you eat as an invader, and reacts by producing antibodies to fight it. The most common is an immunoglobulin E (IgE)-mediated reaction. IgEs are allergic antibodies, that cause an immediate reaction when chemicals, like histamine from cells, are released.
The most common food allergy signs and symptoms include:
In some people, a food allergy can trigger a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. This can cause life-threatening signs and symptoms, including:
Emergency treatment is critical for anaphylaxis. Untreated, anaphylaxis can cause a coma or even death. If you suffer any of these symptoms please call 911.
See a doctor or allergist if you have food allergy symptoms shortly after eating. If possible, see your doctor when the allergic reaction is occurring. This will help your doctor make a diagnosis
In almost all cases, food sensitivities are not life-threatening. These are food intolerances that are not immune-mediated. Instead they’re caused by an inability digest and process food.
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:
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.
Note, if you don't have any money and you can always try elimination diet, where you simplify your specific food intake to rice or other basic meal and slowly introduce potential allergens to identify the food that is causing you food sensitivities. Please always consult your doctor as necessary.
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 results 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 sensitivity?
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 lab facility to get yourself tested.