Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What types of plants produce the most allergy-causing pollen?
A. The type of pollen that most commonly causes allergy symptoms comes from plants that typically do not bear fruit or flowers (trees, grasses, and weeds). These plants produce small, light, dry pollen granules in large quantities that can be carried through the air for miles. Common plant allergens include:
Weeds, such as: ragweed, sagebrush, golden rod, pigweed and plantain
Grasses, such as: timothy grass, Kentucky blue grass, Johnson grass, Bermuda grass, perennial rye and Bahia grass
Hardwood deciduous trees, such as: oak, ash, elm, birch, maple, and hazel, as well as hickory, Juniper, cedar and cypress, are also likely to cause allergy symptoms
Q. What type of doctor can test for allergies?
A. Any practice that has patients with environmental allergies can administer tests. More and more healthcare providers are offering in-office testing. From Primary Care physicians to Internists to Pediatricians, to Pulmonologists all can offer the testing if they are properly set up for it.
Q. Are there allergy tests other than blood tests?
A. Yes the “skin scratch test” or “prick tests” are needle free and painless options to blood tests. It also does not leave residual scars and does not have a risk of infection, since it is limited to the superficial layers of the skin.
Q: What are the needle-free allergy skin tests?
A: The latest methods of allergy skin tests involve using disposable plastic devices that feel like a brush, which are applied on the upper back or on the forearms. They use various testing liquids (allergens) on the tips to check for individual allergies to indoor and outdoor, allergens. The list can include grass pollen, tree pollen, ragweed, weeds, dust mites, dog cat dander, mold, and many more. Once the test is applied, you wait for twenty minutes without touching or scratching. The test results are interpreted based on the size, swelling, and redness around each dot. In the presence of the true allergies, these dots get red and look like mosquito bites.
Q: How do you fix allergies, once diagnosed?
A: The first step is to avoid or reduce the exposure to these allergens. The second step is to use nondrug supportive measures to reduce the need for medications. The third step is to find a combination of medicines to get one’s life back to normal. The goal is to use the minimum number of medicines for the shortest duration possible. The most important and last step is to consider allergy vaccines to modify overactive immune responses. This can be done at home by using sublingual allergy drops or at Doctor’s office through subcutaneous allergy injections.