July 21, 2020
My 5-Star Allergy Testing Experience at Aspire Allergy & Sinus
I’ve struggled with allergies for years, but it’s always something I put off. Something to tackle another day. But going into 2020, I decided it was my year to finally do something about my allergies. I was tired of missing out on things because I wasn’t feeling good or didn’t want to go outside and make my allergies even worse.
Scheduling the Appointment
No one likes to admit that social media targeting actually works but I confess - it was a Facebook ad that finally drew me in. I went to the website and requested my appointment online – no muss, no fuss. In about an hour or so I got a call back from someone at Aspire. They got me set up for an appointment the next week, which surprised me. I thought the wait would be longer.
Before My Allergy Test
They told me I needed to be off my allergy meds five days before the test, or otherwise it might skew the test. This kind of freaked me out. I wasn’t sure I could be off the meds for that long, but I made it. There was a pretty long list of things I needed to stay off of before my test, so I would definitely recommend that anyone wanting to get testing take the time to look at that list.
Allergy Testing Process
I arrived 15 minutes early like they asked me to. I was surprised that there were not only drinks, but a Keurig machine, so I could get a decent coffee. They also had lots of snack options available. Things I don’t normally indulge in, so it was a nice surprise. And wi-fi. Always a plus.
They took me back just a few minutes after I arrived. The team explained what the allergy test entailed. The actual test, where they prick your skin with the allergens, took about 60 seconds. And it didn’t hurt. It kind of felt like a brush being pressed against my skin. Honestly, the worst part was waiting for the results and not because it was painful, but because it was itchy. I knew I was highly allergic when I went in so my itchy arms while waiting were no surprise. The best part is that they have in-room TVs, so I was able to catch up on some mindless TV that I never get to watch. And with the wifi I was able to catch up on some email, too.
Then we moved on to the second part of the test, which are the intradermals. This is where they inject a small amount of the allergen into the upper arm. They told me this is only offered to adult patients and is like a second layer to the test to confirm allergens that weren’t 100% clear or inclusive on the skin test. This was slightly more uncomfortable than the first part of the test but really not that bad. I’m not sure what I expected from the testing process, but it definitely wasn’t what I imagined. It was much easier, not a big deal at all.
The Allergy Test Results
When the wait period was over a Physician Assistant came into the room and reviewed my results with me. Most of what I was allergic to didn’t surprise me but there were a few I wasn’t aware of.
The whole reason I came in for the allergy test is because I wanted to get on the allergy drops, so choosing a treatment plan was a no brainer. I ended up signing up for the three year plan because of the cost savings in the long run. Plus, I didn’t want to make it easy to back out later.
My Allergy Treatment Plan
I set up an appointment for a week later to receive my allergy drops and have someone show me how to use them. I was in and out in about 20 minutes. I received my first bottle of drops and even had the option to choose a flavor from strawberry, apple, raspberry and grape. I chose strawberry and have no complaints. The first bottle will last about 90 days.
I was told that over the course of the year, each bottle will increase in concentration, which means that the amount of allergens in each bottle will increase slightly. This is how immunotherapy works in that the immune system gets built up slowly to not see the allergens as a threat any longer.
How Much Does Allergy Testing Cost?
I’ll be honest when I say I had no idea how much this whole process would cost me before going into it. But I knew it was something I needed to do so was wiling to pay whatever to get my allergies taken care of.
I have a high deductible health plan with a $3,000 individual deductible that I never meet. So I basically pay cash for everything health related, although I do have an HSA, which I ended up using. When they ran the benefits through my health insurance, it was going to cost over $1,000 for just the testing, not including the cost would go toward my deductible but I knew I was never going to even come close to meeting it anyway so that didn’t bother me. I was able to use my HSA even when using the cash pay price.
There were different plan options for the allergy drops, ranging from about $40 a month to $60 a month. That is just to give you an idea of the price, but they don’t offer monthly plans. I opted to pay for three years up front to get the cost saving. The cost for three years of allergy treatment was $1,440. That might seem like a lot, but do you know what I spent in over the counter allergy medication and prescription drugs last year? $625. That included allergy medication, doctor’s office visits because I got two sinus infections, prescription antibiotics to treat the sinus infections, and I didn’t even count the time I had to take off work because I was sick. So, for me it just makes sense. The reviews I hear about the allergy drops made me take the leap.
Everyday Life with Allergy Drops
It’s recommended to take three drops a day. I’ve been taking two in the morning and one at night and that’s been working well for me. I take them right after brushing my teeth, so it’s easy to remember. This helps me avoid eating or drinking anything for the requisite 20 minutes after taking my drops.
Aspire also has an app called Perx that I downloaded right there in the office when I went back to pick up my drops. I’m not going to lie, that is what has made this process so easy for me. I have reminders set to take my drops and the best part is that you can earn rewards for taking the allergy drops on a regular basis. So far, I’ve received gift certificates to Target and Amazon. Score!
Eight Months Into Allergy Treatment
Today, eight months into treatment, I am completely off the daily antihistamines I was taking. I can’t believe I was taking a Zyrtec every single day for so many years! I started to phase them out in my second bottle of drops, which was about three months in, and was completely off of the antihistamines by month five.
Also, I am sleeping so much better! I wake up feeling refreshed and ready to go. I had no idea how much my sleep was impacted by my allergies. It’s funny, you don’t know how bad something is or was until you don’t experience it anymore.
The best part? I can exercise again. I have lost that stubborn 10 pounds around the middle because I can actually go outside and run again! Breathing outdoors is no longer an issue at all.
So if you’re considering getting allergy tested and on allergy drops or another form of allergy treatment, I would definitely recommend it.