Allergy testing: The first step to tackling your allergies
This isn’t the worst allergy season we’ve had. But it may feel like it.
Winter is often a welcome break for many seasonal allergy sufferers. But in years like this one, when we have a short and relatively warm winter, spring allergy season can be prolonged and, along with it, the misery of spring seasonal allergies.
Need help with your allergy symptoms? MultiCare Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists offers skin testing for allergies, as well as immunotherapy (allergy shots), in Tacoma, Puyallup and Auburn.
For many people this past month has been the peak of their sinus and allergy symptoms. Allergy sufferers can have worsening of their nasal congestion, drainage, facial pressure, sneezing, itchy eyes and even asthma symptoms due to their sensitivity to tree pollen, which is highest during the spring season. As we transition to the summer season, grass allergies will become more prominent and fall season brings bad news for weed allergy sufferers.
Of course, many allergy sufferers tend to have symptoms all year round. These “perennial” allergy suffers often have sensitivity to molds, dust mites or pet dander. Although it may seem easy to avoid exposure to these “household” allergens, many are not able to change their home/work environment quiet so readily as to avoid exposure and the symptoms that come with it.
New allergies can develop anytime and at any age. Moving to a new area may or may not change your symptoms. The particular mix of pollen, mold and grasses may differ from one location to another, but the allergens that trigger a reaction may persist no matter where you go. Additionally, if you relocate to another region, you may be exposed to a new set of allergy triggers, so you could only be trading one set of symptoms for another.
If you are experiencing allergy symptoms for the first time, or you’ve been fighting them for years, the first step for allergy treatment is diagnosis. The most comprehensive and sensitive diagnosis is done by a specifically trained allergy nurse/physician via skin testing, where a comprehensive panel of various environmental allergens are applied to the skin to see if there is any skin reaction. Based on the results of testing, a physician might suggest avoidance techniques, treatment with medications, such as antihistamines, or allergy immunotherapy (allergy shots).
Severe nasal allergies with or without sinus symptoms and asthma exacerbations can be a disabling condition and cause significant loss of productivity for many people. With appropriate testing and treatment, you can gain an upper hand in the battle against allergies.
About The Author
Sepehr Oliaei, MD, is an otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat specialist) at MultiCare ENT, Sinus & Allergy Specialists - Tacoma. To schedule an appointment or evaluation, call 253-403-0065.More stories by this author