getting tested for allergies - anything I should check for ?

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Hi guys,

So I'm getting tested for allergies on Thursday. Apparently even WITH insurance, my out-of-pocket costs come to $1,479 for consult and testing because I haven't met my deductible yet (I have anthem blue cross). Is this in-line with what others have paid? Seems crazy. I live in Northern California.

The main reason I'm getting tested is that I've had really bad nose congestion recently including lots of sneezing and plugged nose. But I figure as long as I'm dropping $1,500 maybe I should test for any ME/CFS sensitivities. I've had a lifetime of GI issues, brain fog, fatigue, joint pains, dizziness. Anything unusual I should mention or check for as long as I'm getting allergy tests? Gluten maybe?

Thanks a lot!

PatientlyWaiting
 

Wishful

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Is there an actual point for getting the tests? Last I heard, the tests are only 50% accurate, so you could do just as well by making a list of substances and flipping a coin for each one. If they were reliable, and it showed some substances you were allergic to, can you reasonably avoid them all, or will you still have to keep taking antihistamines the same way as if you didn't know what you were allergic to? Just thinking of what actual value you'd get for your $1,479 plus time and other hassles.

I think the most reliable test for food allergens is to try suspect foods while avoiding other possible allergens and see whether they trigger symptoms. The same holds true for non-food allergens: sniff flowers and animals and mold, test your soap and other body products.

Another problem is that what substances do the tests test for. There are thousands (millions?) of potential allergens, so while they might test you for common mildew and bread mold, you might be sensitive to a spore from lichens, or a fungus that grows only on a certain species of insect, or pollen from a rare plant that just happens to be popular in your community. I'm allergic to something related to evergreen trees during certain cold/humid periods, and I still don't know precisely what the source is. I've sniffed needles and bark, and still haven't found the source. I think it's very unlikely that an allergist would be able to identify it or have a sample in their test kit.
 

Woof!

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The biggies for me were/are: mold/mildew, dust/dust mites, starches (including corn, wheat, rice and tapioca), grains (including corn, barley, wheat and rice), fragrances, smoke, certain foods (such as shrimp, cucumbers, apples...) and certain plants (wild fennel).

I recall being told that I reacted to peaches when I was tested many years ago, but I think that was a false positive. Just don't accept any test result as gospel. Experience with individual allergens is more predictive in the long run.
 
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Allergy symptoms are the bane of my existence. My symptoms are stuffiness and excess mucous that does not come out, but just lurks in my sinuses. I envy people with runny noses because better out than in.

Some years ago I had a skin allergy test, and based on those results, had prescription allergy desensitizing drops formulated. I've been on them for years, but they haven't helped nearly as much as I had hoped. I need to get retested, but I'd have to stop my Dymista, a combination of an antihistamine and steroid, for 1 or 2 weeks before the test. Without Dymista, my breathing and sleep are much worse.

I will do that, though, when I can summon the willpower. It would be interesting to see if my years of allergy drops have resulted in those allergies being deactivated. It's possible to have allergies cleared, but still continue having symptoms if you also have nonallergic rhinitis, a condition that has no cure.

PEA (Palmitoylethanolamide) gave me really good relief from allergies, but it also resulted in insomnia even though I took it as soon as I got up in the morning. PEA is a mast cell stabilizer in addition to its other benefits. I've seen some studies saying that PEA increases dopamine levels, so maybe that contributed to my insomnia.
 

Woof!

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Allergy symptoms are the bane of my existence. My symptoms are stuffiness and excess mucous that does not come out, but just lurks in my sinuses. I envy people with runny noses because better out than in.

Some years ago I had a skin allergy test, and based on those results, had prescription allergy desensitizing drops formulated. I've been on them for years, but they haven't helped nearly as much as I had hoped. I need to get retested, but I'd have to stop my Dymista, a combination of an antihistamine and steroid, for 1 or 2 weeks before the test. Without Dymista, my breathing and sleep are much worse.

I will do that, though, when I can summon the willpower. It would be interesting to see if my years of allergy drops have resulted in those allergies being deactivated. It's possible to have allergies cleared, but still continue having symptoms if you also have nonallergic rhinitis, a condition that has no cure.

PEA (Palmitoylethanolamide) gave me really good relief from allergies, but it also resulted in insomnia even though I took it as soon as I got up in the morning. PEA is a mast cell stabilizer in addition to its other benefits. I've seen some studies saying that PEA increases dopamine levels, so maybe that contributed to my insomnia.
What are you doing to knock down the allergen levels in your home? (e.g. using anti-mite mattress & pillow covers, removing carpeting and heavy drapes, sleeping near a HEPA filter, not sleeping with your pets...)
 
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Hi, @Woof, I have addressed everything you mentioned. Part of my problem is that I live in Austin, Texas, and we have constant industrial amounts of pollen as well as year-round heavy mold. Added to that, I live in a heavily wooded area, which I love, but it makes this problem worse.

Another part of my problem is a chronic sinus fungus called Paecilomyces. It's rare for this fungus to colonize the sinuses, and it usually occurs in those with immune problems. I use Itraconazole in my sinus rinses, which helps some with the symptoms, but does not kill the fungus.
 

Lieselotte

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The main reason I'm getting tested is that I've had really bad nose congestion recently including lots of sneezing and plugged nose. But I figure as long as I'm dropping $1,500 maybe I should test for any ME/CFS sensitivities. I've had a lifetime of GI issues, brain fog, fatigue, joint pains, dizziness. Anything unusual I should mention or check for as long as I'm getting allergy tests? Gluten maybe?
$1500 bucks, wow. That might be the going rate, but I would shop around if I were you. I can never figure out how insurance works, but I've never paid full price for whatever testing was done before my deductible was reached.

Is the nose congestion something that just popped up? Have you had it long?
I'm not sure about allergies being something that hits you suddenly, although I'm sure it's possible. Does an antihistamine make the symptoms go away?

For the food allergies, I would personally skip those. I had allergy testing (skin test) to foods once. I learned afterward that it wasn't the right test. I learned that I was semi-allergic to a handful of foods which the doctor said could become an issue and I should get some epi-pens. Years later and I eat all of those foods. Oh, and wheat came out as A-OK for me via that scratch test. But guess what - a year or so later I found out I did have a major issue with gluten.

If you want to test for foods it's better to get an IgG test done like Cyrex. Most gut issues are not IgE mediated, rather IgG.
 

Woof!

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Hi, @Woof, I have addressed everything you mentioned. Part of my problem is that I live in Austin, Texas, and we have constant industrial amounts of pollen as well as year-round heavy mold. Added to that, I live in a heavily wooded area, which I love, but it makes this problem worse.
I can definitely relate!