Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Allergy Testing

I just got retested for allergies today to see how my allergy shots are working. For those of you who have never found the need to be tested for allergies, let me tell you. You are missing out on barrels of fun.

The first test tests for severe allergies. They dip little plastic “scratchers” in vials of allergens and press them into the skin on your forearms. It feels like a mosquito bite, only there are sixteen on each arm. Almost immediately, your arms begin to itch… burn… sting… sting, sting, STING! But no scratching! That’ll mess up the test. Red splotches start to form around the little red dots. Then some of the red splotches turn into welts. In an utterly convenient coincidence, my most severe allergy (grass) caused a nice little welt about the size of a nickel right where I usually put my watchband. Oak, dust, and another one mainly caused rashes.

Once they’ve recorded the results from that test, they test the allergies that didn’t cause an obvious reaction. In other words, they test for mild to moderate allergies. This test involves injecting the allergens right under the skin on you upper arm. I think this time they only tested ten. You bleed and grimace when a particularly dull needle hits a particularly thick piece of skin, and then they wait for that to itch and swell. Three or four more allergies made themselves known. Kitties? Yep, still allergic. Darn.

On the bright side, my grass welt was the size of a nickel rather than a half-dollar like it was when I was first evaluated. So at least I know the shots are working and I can continue to be a pin cushion for another five years.


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