I visited the allergy doctor on Tuesday. I didn’t know what to expect but considering my wife is in the medical technology field and tests for allergies, we thought that they were either (1) going to draw blood, send it to a lab, and have it tested on a panel, or (2) they were going to do some sort of “scratch test.”
Well, to my dismay the test was actually neither; apparently they only do the scratch test on younger kids. So…they made me lay on my stomach (shirt off) and drew 50 lines on my back. They then came in with little bottles/needles (officially called lancets) that were packed with different substances, of which they poked and injected into my back (apparently it’s just called a “prick” test).
Now, it wasn’t the end of the world as it was much like the devices they use for finger pricks these days, but it still hurt! The shoulder area wasn’t bad, but further down on your back and on the spine, things get a little sensitive. The one thing I concluded at the end was that I will NEVER get a tattoo on my back.
After injecting me 50 times, they then set a timer for 12 minutes, attended to other patients, and then came back to see how I reacted. The first thing the doctor did when he walked back in the room was he laughed! He said, ‘oh my, you’re quite reactive. It looks like you’re highly allergic to all of the grasses and ragweed.”
It was kind of cool, because the way they tell if you’re reactive or not is they inject two controls into you (2 of the 50): a histamine (which makes you swell up) and saline. They then compare the reaction of each substance to the histamine and saline controls. If you’re highly reactive, such as I was, then that part of your back will swell more than the histamine.
They have four ratings to tell how allergic you are:
Well, leave it to me to be an overachiever! I got a 4+4++ (EXTREMELY reactive) for the following: June grass, bermuda, orchard, rye, red top, ragweed, and timothy.
The doctor said I was so allergic to these tests that he’s concerned with setting me up on a shot regimen as I might have a very bad reaction to it. So, for this year I have to take a daily nasal spray, a daily Allegra pill, and for flare ups he gave me the steroid, Prednisone. Next year he’ll reassess and may suggest that I take an oral liquid that’s become very popular in Europe but has yet to be approved by the FDA and is not covered by insurance here in the U.S.
Despite it being 48 hours after these tiny injections were put into my body, the Ragweed test is still swollen and itches amazingly bad! Considering I’m having this difficultly with a very small injection, I don’t think there is any way I will let him give me shots next year.
So, that’s my story of the week. I’m hoping what he’s given me will help me for the rest of this year. I’ll be going golfing tomorrow with my dad and will be outside for the entire afternoon. The nasal spray should start kicking in and I’m hoping that the allergies don’t flare up too bad as I have two extremely important seminars coming next week.
Your nerdy, allergic blogger is out. Have a great weekend and read some of these posts. Peace!
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