The best method for controlling allergies is avoidance. Specific control of the offending environment(s) is essential in reducing or interrupting exposure. When sufficient relief cannot be achieved with avoidance techniques and medications, immunotherapy injections can be administered with the goal of reducing your sensitivities. Immunotherapy is effective for those allergic to: pollens, dust, mold spores, fungi, and some animal dander.
These injections are usually administered weekly for the first year and then a few weeks apart, depending on your symptoms. After a three to five year period, your allergy injections will be gradually tapered off. Some patients find it necessary to continue with a maintenance dose every four to six weeks for several years.
To reduce your sensitivities, the strength of your dose is gradually increased until you reach the maximum symptom-relieving dose. Occasionally, you may have a local reaction at the injection site, such as redness and swelling.
Interruptions in your progress can occur if you have an infection, are under stress, or have other medical problems which are not controlled. Excessive exposure to pollens, dust, molds or irritants in your environment (e.g. cigarette smoke, chemicals, metals, paint fumes, perfumes) may cause an increase in your symptoms. It may be necessary to adjust your allergy dose and to take allergy medication. Immunotherapy is not a cure for allergies and cannot provide 100% protection. You must take an active role in adjusting your environment to achieve the desired effect.
Allergy Test Insurance Verification Codes and Questions to Ask
We strongly recommend you to verify coverage of the following services/supplies by your insurance company prior to beginning allergy testing. The following codes are provided to help you when contacting your insurance company :
Allergy Skin Prick Testing for Foods and Initial Step of MQT test
– 95004 (per allergen)
Allergy Immunotherapy Treatment Vials
– 95165 (single/multiple antigens)
– 95115 (single injection)
– 95117 (two or more injections)
Questions to ask your Insurer(s):
• Are there any waiting periods or pre-existing clauses?
• Do I have any deductibles that apply in this case?
• Do I have any co-payments that apply in this case?
• Do I need a referral from my primary care physician (PCP)?
• What is the effective date when coverage/noncoverage begins?
• What percentage of my testing is covered?
• Do I have coverage for allergy immunotherapy serum and injections?
• Do I need prior-authorization or pre-approval from insurance for test?
Review all of the above codes with them
SKIN TESTING FOR ALLERGIES
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is An Allergy Test?
An allergy skin test, also called a scratch test, is used to identify the substances that are causing your allergy symptoms. It is performed by applying an extract of allergen to your skin, scratching or pricking the skin to allow exposure, and then evaluating the skin’s reaction.
What Happens During The Test?
First a doctor or nurse will examine the skin on your forearm and clean it with alcohol.
Areas on your skin are then marked with a pen to identify each allergen that will be tested. A drop of extract for each potential allergen—such as pollen and animal danderis placed on the corresponding mark.
A small disposable pricking device is then used so the extract can enter into the outer layer of the skin, called the epidermis. The skin prick is not a shot and does not cause bleeding.
If there are allergic antibodies in your system, your skin will become irritated and may itch, much like a mosquito bite. This reaction means you are allergic to that substance.
How Long Does The Test Last?
It takes approximately one hour for the entire appointment. The allergen placement takes 5 to 10 minutes. Then you will have to wait about 15 minutes to see how your skin reacts.
How Can I Prepare For The Test?
Inform the healthcare provider who is going to perform the skin test about all medicines you are taking, including over-the-counter medications.
Since over-the-counter antihistamines stop allergic reactions, you should not take them for five days before the test. Talk to your doctor about discontinuing your prescription medications prior to the test.
Your doctor will give you a list of medicines to avoid before the test, since there are other drugs that can interfere with the results. Since you may not be able to discontinue certain medicines, please consult your doctor or nurse before making any changes.
Will It Hurt?
The testing may be mildly irritating, but most people say it doesn’t hurt too much.
Is The Test Safe?
Although small amounts of allergens are introduced into your system, a skin test is completely safe when performed properly.