Consider this: you walk down the street and see a beautiful tree with blooming purple flowers. As you get closer, you start to sneeze uncontrollably. It’s obvious you’re allergic to the tree, right? Probably not…
First, trees with flowers are usually insect pollinated, not wind pollinated. Pollen carried by insects rarely ever makes it into your system. So if it is pollen that’s causing your reaction, it’s probably not the flowering tree that’s to blame. Then why does it always seem to work that way — you see the flowers, the tree is clearly in bloom, and you start sneezing — if flowering trees are not allergy-inducing? Because they blossom at the same time as wind-pollinated trees. There may be a grove of Juniper trees two miles away and a gust of wind picked up its pollen and delivered it right into your path. Maybe you didn’t even see the Juniper pollen, which makes it an even more likely culprit; the smaller the pollen size, the farther travels and the more easily it sneaks into your nose and lungs. Then again, your allergy trigger could be pollen from recently mown grass or the patch of weeds growing in a nearby field.
Now imagine stepping into the home of a friend. Within minutes, a sinus headache comes on strong. Although there’s no pet present, cat hair covers the couch and a shaft of sunlight reveals dust wafting through the air. Either of those could be a source of your allergy symptoms. In fact, cat protein lives in a home for many months after its furry owner has vacated the scene. Or, cockroaches — completely hidden from view — could be to blame. The roaches may be long gone too, but it’s what they leave behind that gets your histamine flowing.
Last scenario… You take a bite out of an apple and your mouth tingles and your lips feel slightly swollen. Are you allergic to the apple? Hard to believe, since you just had a slice of apple pie and didn’t have any problems. You might be experiencing Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS). Simply put, the apple is related to certain kinds of pollen to which you are sensitized and, in its raw form, the apple triggers allergy symptoms.
So, how do you tell what you’re really allergic to? There’s only one reliable way — an allergy test. First, when you visit an AllerVision-affiliated provider, your doctor will ask questions to get clues to what allergens MIGHT be to blame. Then you’ll most likely receive a pain-free skin test that will reveal your allergy sensitivities in just 15 minutes. Combined with the questions you answered, your doctor should be able to identify your allergy triggers on the spot so you can discuss treatments. That, of course, is the bottom line — we want you to enjoy the great outdoors — or whatever’s really causing your allergies.
To find an AllerVision-affiliated doctor — who’s qualified to offer allergy examinations — please click here.