We Now Offer Allergy Testing
Allergy skin testing is a simple, painless way to discover if you are suffering from allergies. Once allergies are identified by your provider, you can start an effective treatment plan to reduce your symptoms. Many people find that once they manage their allergies, they experience a better quality of life.
Skin Allergy Testing: What can I Expect?
Your doctor has recommended an allergy skin test to decide whether you have allergies, and if so, to determine which particular allergens affect you. This test is a safe, painless way to learn more about your allergies. About 2 out of 10 people have allergies and identifying what triggers your allergies can play an important part in your healthcare.
Do Not Take Antihistamines Before Your Test!
The most important thing to do before your allergy test is to STOP TAKING ANY ANTIHISTAMINES AT LEAST 5 DAYS BEFORE YOUR TEST DATE. The allergy skin test must be postponed if you have taken antihistamines recently, because they slow or stop your allergic response and will make the results of your test inaccurate.
How is an Allergy Skin Test Performed?
An allergy skin test is a safe and easy way to learn more about allergies you may have. It can be performed quickly in the comfort of your doctor’s office.
This test does not hurt and does not use a needle. The process involves placing a small drop of several different allergens on your skin, and measuring your body’s responses. Some examples of thesetypes of allergens are pet dander, pollens, and dust mites. This is the most effective way to test for allergies. The test takes less than an hour and has two simple steps:
STEP 1 – The allergy nurse will gently wipe your arm to remove any germs or irritants before starting the test. The allergens for which you are being tested are placed on the tips of a device that looks like a plastic hair comb. The device is pressed onto the skin of your arm leaving a small drop of each allergen on your skin. In very small children or those under the age of 8, the device may be used on the back instead of the arms. The test device does not have a needle and will not be painful. It does make tiny, invisible, scratches on your arm which allow the allergens being tested to seep into the skin. The spots on your arm may be circled or numbered with a marker to help identify the sites later.
STEP 2 -You will then wait 15 to 20 minutes before the test sites are checked for redness or swelling. While waiting the allergy nurse will acquaint you with allergy symptoms and therapy and answer any questions you may have about your allergy care. After the observation period, the nurse will write down the allergens which showed a reaction. A cream will be applied to help soothe any itching, redness, or swelling from the test.
Are there any Side Effects with Allergy Skin Tests?
If you have an allergic response, the test sites may feel itchy and form bumps similar to a mosquito bite. It is important not to scratch or touch your arms during the waiting period as this could affect the results of your skin test. The test sites disappear in as little as a few minutes or as long as 12 hours after the test is complete. You can take an allergy medication (like Benadryl® or Zyrtec® ) to help with any discomfort.
For severe allergic responses it may take 2 to 3 days for the bumps to disappear, but they should not hurt. You should call your doctor if you notice any new bumps after your allergy test or any bumps that get worse or do not fully go away after 2 to 3 days. There is a very remote chance that allergy testing can cause a severe reaction, including breathing problems. Although very unlikely, make sure to tell the allergy nurse or call the office if you have any difficulty breathing.
Who Should NOT Have an Allergy Skin test?
You should not have this test if:
- You’ve had a bad allergic reaction before, like swelling of the face, throat, or tongue; a drop in blood pressure; or loss of consciousness
- You have any skin problems that may prevent your doctor from identifying an allergic reaction on your skin
- You take any medication containing beta-blockers (medications to treat high blood pressure and some heart problems) that have not or cannot be stopped for
five days prior to testing
- You take tricyclic medications for depression, migraines, or other problems (Pamelor, nortriptyline, Elavil, amitriptyline) that have not or cannot be stopped for five days prior to testing
What’s My Next Step?
Once your allergy skin test is complete, your allergy clinician will talk with you about the allergies you have and what is the best treatment to manage them. You will be given information to take home and read about each of your allergies. We will schedule a visit to talk to your primary care provider about the skin test results and the best way to manage your allergies.
How much will this cost?
Most insurers will cover allergy testing and treatment, but it can be quite expensive if they do not. Knowing your benefits can help you address your allergies at an affordable cost. Medical billing is done using a coding system. Every billable item is assigned a 5-digit code. Use the allergy codes below to ask your insurance company how much coverage they offer for allergy testing and treatment, and if your deductible applies to your allergy benefits.
Questions for Your Insurance Company
Does my deductible apply for codes 95004, 95024, and 95165 and if so, how much remaining deductible do I have?
95004: Skin Prick Testing
95024: Intradermal (under the skin) Testing
Do you cover codes 95004 and 95024?
Is there a limit on the number of units allowed for each of these codes?
Do I have a co-pay when I go in for testing and the only codes being billed are 95004 and 95024?
Allergy Treatment (Immunotherapy)
Do you cover code 95165 (Allergy Immunotherapy)?
Is there a limit to the number of units allowed for 95165, and if so, what is the limit?
Is there a co-pay required for 95115 or 95117 (weekly allergy shots)? If so, is it my regular co-pay or is it reduced?