Pins and Needles: The Allergy Skin Prick Test – What To Know!

For those unlucky Arizonans, seasonal allergies are the pits. The pollens that bring sneezing, itchy and swollen eyes, and all around misery can really put a cramp in our desert lifestyle. Many allergy sufferers will at some point wind up at doctors office for a skin prick test (SPT) to determine which pollens and allergens they are allergic to. The results of this test can help you avoid your particular triggers, whether it’s staying indoors during prime grass season or taking allergy medicine before you leave the house. The skin prick test itself is straightforward type of allergy testing, but knowing what to expect can help ease anxieties if the idea of getting this test puts you on pins and needles.

Allergy Testing to Determine Specific Type of Allergic Reaction & Treatment

Allergy Testing – What to Expect 

The first part of your appointment should be familiar. The nurse will take your height, weight and blood pressure. You’ll settle into a room and wait for the doctor. The allergist will come in and ask you questions regarding your symptoms and how you are feeling and will look in your eyes, nose and throat. He’ll also listen to your heart and lungs. This is the time to discuss how your current allergy medications are working for you and what you hope to gain from the appointment. The visit may lead to new medications or even allergy shots if your symptoms to certain pollens are severe.

After the allergy doctor talks with you, the nurse will give you some privacy so that you can strip down to your waist. You’ll put on a gown without a back and lie down on a table. When the nurse comes in, she’ll have with her all of the allergens that they will be testing.

 “For seasonal allergies, you can expect us to test your body on about 50 to 60 different types of allergens, mostly grasses, weeds, trees and a few molds.”

The nurse will quickly mark your back in rows with a sharpie or dry erase marker to create a map of sorts. The allergens are all sterile and are administered using a lancet, which barely breaks the skin. It is done very quickly and is usually over in about a minute. You may experience mild discomfort or even a ticklish sensation during the process. A control, which is always histamine, will also be applied. Everyone has histamine in their body, but it can affect them differently. Certain people don’t react to histamine right away, and this means that the test may be difficult to diagnose.

Allergy Skin Prick Test

You will be left for about 25 minutes while the allergens do their work and your body reacts. Once the allotted time is past, she will come back in with a chart and will check the results on your back and mark them down. Once finished, she’ll create a printout for you to keep that shows your results, and the doctor will come back in to talk to you. Your allergist will discuss your reactions to the various allergens, such as the size of the wheal and flare, which are the bumps and redness that your back will develop. He will also explain what the numbers mean for you and what treatments might be necessary going forward.

Having knowledge of what pollens and desert allergens affect your body will give you the power to ease your symptoms, whether it’s through avoidance or treatment. Allergy skin prick testing is complete and straightforward with hardly any discomfort to speak of.

Set up an appointment today for our skin allergy testing to find out what your triggers are so that you can put yourself back in the driver’s seat this summer.

This blog content originally posted @ https://allergyarizona.net/pins-and-needles-the-allergy-skin-prick-test-what-to-know/

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5 FAQS to Know about Allergies and Allergists

Associates of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology estimates that more than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies. While that number is jarring, additional statistics show that approximately one out of six Americans suffer from allergic rhinitis. The following information will describe what allergic rhinitis is, what triggers it and why consulting an allergist as opposed to your primary care physician is the best course of action to take if you believe that you may be living with allergies.

What is allergic rhinitis?

Allergy means “strange activity” in Greek. Rhinitis, also Greek in origin, literally means “condition of the nose.” Therefore, allergic rhinitis, which is also referred to as hay fever, can be defined as a condition in which irritants cause “inflammation of the nose or its mucous membrane.”

What causes allergies?

Pollen is a powdery fertilizing agent that flowering plants release in order to fertilize other plants. It helps create beautiful gardens, but pollen also makes it difficult for people with seasonal allergies to enjoy them.

Pollen, which is transported through the air, attaches itself to a person’s hair, skin and clothing. When people who are sensitive to pollen breathe in pollen-laden air, typical symptoms include “sneezing, nasal congestion, runny nose, watery eyes, itchy throat and eyes and wheezing.”

Pollen and debris from an animal’s coat or feathers are two of the most common irritants that trigger allergic rhinitis symptoms. However, it is worth mentioning that pollen is not just limited to flowers. For example, certain trees, grasses, and desert plants like cacti are also pollen-heavy. Additionally, dust and chemicals from pipe, cigar and cigarette smoke are other windborne irritants, and all the above can be particularly tough on people living with allergies. This is just one reason why attempting to self-medicate with over the counter medicine is not advised.

Why do you need to see an allergist instead of your primary care physician?

Unlike general physicians, allergists are physicians who have completed additional training programs that allow them to effectively diagnose and treat asthma and allergic diseases. The following list describes some of the health issues that an allergist-immunologist treats:

  • asthma
  • hay fever
  • sinusitis
  • rashes
  • hives  (ACAAI)

What should you expect when you visit an allergist?

An allergist-immunologist will conduct a thorough medical history and physical exam. Skin and blood tests may also be incorporated in order to determine exactly what substances are causing allergic reactions. This is typically done in an in-house testing lab. The new client visit could take up to two hours. Once the irritants have been identified, allergists will create a treatment plan that may include dietary recommendations, inoculations and other medication specifically designed for their clients’ needs.

Is there a cure for allergies?

Unfortunately, no. However, immunotherapy and specialty medicines as well as education, can greatly reduce the symptoms that people living with allergies would normally experience by attempting to self-medicate, which can be dangerous. By consulting a top Phoenix allergist, these individuals can avoid wasting time, money and possibly putting their health at risk and focus on enjoying life.

References

American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. (n.d.). Retrieved from acaai.org/

Allergy | Define Allergy at Dictionary.com. (n.d.). Retrieved from dictionary.com/browse/allergy

Rhinitis | Define Rhinitis at Dictionary.com. (n.d.). Retrieved from dictionary.com/browse/rhinitis

American Board of Allergy and Immunology:. (n.d.). Retrieved from abai.org

Allergy Facts | AAFA.org. (n.d.). Retrieved from aafa.org/page/allergy-facts.aspx

“This blog post originally posted @ https://allergyarizona.net/5-faqs-to-know-about-allergies-and-allergists/

What is a Pollen Allergy

Call it what you will – pollinosis, a nasal allergy, or just plain “hay fever” – millions of people suffer from the effects of pollen every day. The affliction ranges in form from a small and short sniffling in the morning hours to full-blown sneezing fits throughout the day. The condition is irritating and aggravating but, rest assured, it is not life threatening.

What exactly is pollen?

Pollen grains are part of the male portion of seed plants. It is an integral part of the plant ecosystem around us and by its very nature is commonplace. In fact, without pollen, life on the planet Earth would not even be possible – so get used to the fact that it will be around for some time to come. This last fact does not mean, however, that human healthcare specialists are unable to deal with a pollen allergy in any meaningful way.

What can be done to alleviate an allergy to pollen?

Healthcare professionals have developed a number of effective reAdult-Pediatric-Allergy-Phoenixmedies but it really takes a specialist to recommend the most effective one. In particular, you may be prescribed antihistamines or decongestants to start, nasal corticosteroids if these first two do not prove effective or an ipratropium or a leukotriene modifier. If these medicines do not solve the problem, an allergy specialist may finally resort to immunotherapy administered by injection.

This information is of more than passing concern to any resident of the Phoenix area who is even mildly allergic to pollen. In fact, it is integral to their well-being. Keep it in mind whenever you have an allergic reaction to pollen and if you do need more information on the basics of pollen, why it provokes an allergic reaction and how best to treat it, please contact us at Adult & Pediatric Allergy Associates. We can be booked online, or reached directly at 602-242-4592.

Are you Allergic to the Arizonan Olive Tree?

According to Greek mythology, Athena, the goddess of wisdom, stuck her magic spear into the ground and it turned into an olive tree. Throughout history the oil produced from olives has sustained people in arid climates. The olive wood is beautiful and wonderful for sculptures. The olive branch is a well-known symbol of peace…   So, what’s not to like in an olive tree?

Pollen.

Every spring olive trees produce clouds of pollen in the dry Arizona climate. The trees love it here. The desert is the perfect climate for them. They are beautiful, adorning landscapes of homes and businesses throughout the Phoenix area. And every spring people all over Arizona start to cough and sneeze and suffer from clogged sinuses because of allergies to the pollen.

What are the symptoms if you have allergies to olive trees?

  • Runny nose with mucus production and irritation of the nasal membranes, causing sneezing.
  • Head congestion
  • Headaches
  • Red, irritated eyes, sometimes with swelling of the lids or even the membranes lining the eye itself
  • Coughing and even wheezing

Olive tree pollen is one of the most potent allergens around in desert areas. Scientists have found 20 separate proteins in the pollen that cause allergic reactions. The problem Asthma-and-Allergy-Treatment-Adult-and-Pediatricis so severe that many cities, such as Phoenix, Tucson, Albuquerque, Las Vegas and Amman, Jordan have placed a ban on the planting of new olive trees. But the older trees are still around since these trees can live for more than a century and are ornamental. www.reviewjournal.com/news/sneeze-breeze

Olive tree pollen can also cause the development of asthma as the pollen irritates the lining of the bronchial tubes that carry air to the lungs (also known as asthmatic allergies). The problem can even become life-threatening.

If you think you have an allergy to olive trees, you need to see a Board Certified Allergist —someone with the training and knowledge necessary to treat this condition properly. Call our clinic today if you would like to learn more

5 Signs that you are suffering from allergies

Even for the chronic sufferer, an allergic reaction – to pollen, particular allergy causing foods or other irritants – is not always immediately evident. The symptoms can be confused with everything from a bug bite to a common head cold or sinusitis. Still, a preponderance of symptoms should give one a clear idea of what is happening. Here is a quick rundown on what to look for to determine if you are suffering from allergies:

Odd taste in mouth The human body is highly attuned to its wants and needs. As much as it likes to tell you what and when to eat, it will also quickly inform you if an unwanted substance is introduced. If you encounter an unwanted taste in your mouth, consider the source.

Scratchy throat – This symptom is most pronounced if a food allergen is ingested – with results often within just a few seconds! but dermal contact with a plant or the inhalation of another allergen can also produce this effect.

Nasal congestion / Watery eyes – Once the allergen is introduced to the body in whatever way, the body’s natural defenses try to rid itself of them. Mucus and tears are the first symptoms but nausea and diarrhea can follow within a couple of hours.

Skin rash – More commonly known as “hives,” this skin rash will develop within an hour or two of being exposed to the allergen. Many people think that this condition is only provoked by touching poison ivy or some other irritant. To the contrary, any allergen – whether touched or not – can cause hives.

Obstructed breathing – This symptom manifests itself in a number of ways most notably with the swelling of the lips, tongue, and throat. Usually the most troubling of allergic reactions, this symptom can even be life threatening.

For further information on recognizing and dealing with an allergic reaction, please contact us at Adult & Pediatric Allergy Associates. We can be found online at AllergyArizona.net or reached directly at 602-242-4592.

Few Dangerous insects that cause allergies

With desert flowers, spring rain,it also means that the insects also come out of hibernation. Tiny as they are, even the smallest insects can provoke a truly outsized reaction in an Arizonan if they sting a susceptible individual. The anaphylactic shock – allergy to you and me – that they cause can range from mildly irritating to downright deadly. For those with this particular disability, it pays to know what you are dealing with. Here is a quick rundown on the four most dangerous insects in this category which cause allergies in Phoenix that we treat often at our Phoenix allergy clinic

Household Pests

While most folks worry the most about insect bites in the “great outdoors,” the majority of insect bites are actually inflicted upon humans inside the home. With their tiny bites, spiders, mites and fleas can trigger inflammations and rashes. In addition, cockroaches and other non-biting insects can leave detritus that will trigger asthma or asthma-like symptoms.

Stinging Insects

There are a whole panoply of insects – bees, yellow-jackets, hornets, stink bugs and fire ants to name just a few – that like to perpetrate their particular brand of nastiness on the human race. Each of their toxins is different but the results are usually the same. A cold compress applied to the puncture wound will fix most of these injuries but it is also good to keep a rescue inhaler on-hand just in case.

Biting Insects

 Everyone has been bitten by a mosquito at one time or another. For some, it is a relatively minor inconvenience but for others, it is a far more serious situation. Similarly, the bites of bedbugs, fleas and certain flies are also painful and can potentially provike a life-threatening allergic event. Keep your linens laundered on a regular basis to avoid this problem

For more information on insect allergies and the best way to deal with an anaphylactic reaction to a sting or bite, please contact us at Adult & Pediatric Allergy Associates. We can be found online at AllergyArizona.net or reached directly at 602-242-4592.

What? You think that you have Food Allergies?

Your immune system prevents the invasion of your body by infectious organisms, such as viruses, bacteria and molds. These invaders are recognized as foreign by the cells of the immune system and are destroyed. But nothing, including your immune system, is perfect and that leads us to food allergies. A mistaken identification sets off a cascade of events that can lead to a very serious reaction.

Do all foods cause allergies?

While the potential is there for every food, certain types are more likely to cause allergic reactions. Peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, milk, soy, shellfish and wheat are the likeliest suspects. The proteins in these foods have certain similar characteristics that make them appear alien to your body.

What are the symptoms of food allergies?

Skin and mucous membranes:

  • Itching – Both the mouth and skin.
  • Flushing – Blood vessels dilate and the skin turns red.
  • Swelling – The skin and mucous membranes swell up as fluid from the blood seeps into the tissues.

Upper respiratory system:

  • Nasal congestion, sneezing, runny nose – Also due to seepage of fluid from the blood to the tissues.
  • Stridor and wheezing – Swelling and edema of the voice box, trachea and bronchial tubes.

Lower respiratory system:

  • Cough and shortness of breath – The lungs can fill with fluid in severe cases.

Gastrointestinal system:

  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain – Secondary to swelling in the walls of the intestines.

Cardiovascular system:

  • Hypotension, shock and death – As fluid leaves the blood vessels, blood pressure drops and the heart no longer pumps efficiently.

Most cases resolve spontaneously and fatal cases are rare. Children frequently outgrow their sensitivity to milk, soy and wheat. But allergies to peanuts, nuts and shellfish tend to persist and run in families.

If you have a family member with food allergies, you want the best possible care. You want a Board Certified Allergist who will use science based knowledge to keep the ones you love safe. Too many supposed “specialists” depend on treatments that have no scientific basis. Keep your family safe. Set up an appointment with a real allergy specialist today for allergy testing.