New Allergy Testing: Scratch and No-Sniff
Yes it’s that time of year again when April showers have borne May flowers, and with that allergy season arrives in full bloom. Let’s hope you’re not allergic to puns. So if you’ve recently noticed a scratchy nose, watery eyes, and sensitive skin – not to worry, we can start from scratch to combat that sniff.
Caduceus has been itching to announce our new allergy testing: a skin scratch test available at all office locations. No needles, no pain, and no need to wait. Caduceus patients can sign up for testing today and receive their results within 1-3 days.
So, who should be tested?
The short answer is anyone. While allergies can occur at any age, typically they appear in childhood and peak in early adulthood. Typical symptoms include sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, itchy or watery eyes, itching mouth and skin, and fatigue. Less common symptoms could be unusual rashes, sinus headaches, swollen lips and tongue, and even behavioral changes.
You should also know that allergies generally come in three seasons – spring, summer, and fall – so we find ourselves right in the middle of peak exposure. And remember all that rain we had from January through March? Well Southern California experts project that the extra downpour will break up pollen and create a stronger season than usual once the winds of summer arrive.
Now what should you do if you think you have allergies?
First, get tested. As common as allergies are this time of year, many other conditions can mimic this histamine-driven response: an infection like the “common cold”, sinus infection, non-allergic rhinitis (runny nose), food sensitivities, and medication side effects.
So you can direct yourself for allergy testing – but make sure you discuss the results with your doctor to make an assessment and treatment plan.
Other proactive things you can do to keep allergies under control:
- Saline sprays. These over-the-counter saltwater sprays can flush out your nasal passages. They help clear out pollen and other irritants.
- Protection. Reduce exposure to pollen: Don’t do outdoor activities when pollen counts are high. Most pollen peaks between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. each day, and can also be high around midday when it’s warm and windy.
- Helpful foods. Eating something spicy can thin mucus and clear congestion. A teaspoon of honey can soothe your throat if it gets irritated from coughing all day.
- Allergy season can be nearly year-along and affect anyone, and this year in Southern California could be especially itchy.
- Caduceus offers on-site testing with a scratch test – no painful needles – with results in 1-3 days.
- Make an appointment with your doctor to review these results and make a treatment plan – so you can stop and smell the flowers worry-free.
Nathaniel DeNicola, MD, MSHP, FACOG