What’s got your allergies? The Test

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“If you didn’t have all those animals in your house, you’d be fine.”

Nah. I got proof this month.
I had allergy testing done as a child, but the process is a little updated, and there is one big thing I wasn’t aware of:

YOU HAVE TO DISCONTINUE ALL ANTIHISTAMINES FOR 1 WEEK

However, you can still use your nasal steroids ie Flonase.

Backstory

My allergies have been stupid and ridiculous since I moved to Maryland. It wasn’t too bad in Arizona. I would use the Neti with the salts and flush my sinuses out, and maybe take one antihistamine. I also had 4 cats, several guinea pigs, and hay in the house. Since moving to Maryland, I have had constant sniffles, congestion, and take three different antihistamines after trial and error with different single ones. I also just added Flonase 2 months ago. I wash my bedding at least twice a month, as well as pillows, and we have a HEPA running upstairs in my room as well as downstairs in the living room. The guinea pigs and hay are also gone. And still…these things with my face…oof.

My insurance said they would cover 75% of allergy testing before processing goes through. I paid $125, but I might get a partial reimbursement. You never can really tell these days. I stopped all antihistamines on a Wednesday, as my testing was the following Wednesday. Some kinds of acid reflux meds have to be discontinued as well, but not Prilosec, which I take the generic or else things get very unpleasant if discontinued. I was also told to not take any sedatives three days prior. You also have to not use hydro-cortisone.

Friday the itching was intense. I had no hives, but just ready to dig my skin out. Most noticeable areas were shoulders, near the elbow, sides of the torso, inner thighs, and my scalp. It felt like I constantly had bugs in my hair. It was terrible. However, it were to be temporary, as long as I made it to Wednesday. The entire week I felt like I could be irritating myself because I had no protection other than the Neti and Flonase, and wasn’t certain if anything could be my deodorant, or start having a severe reaction to my cats. I was washing my hands more a dozen times a day, and some days I would take two showers.

Tuesday night my eyes started itching pretty bad. Oh no.

Wednesday morning I was ready

Allergy testing is pretty cool. They put the allergen serums on pokey pokey things and press it into your skin. I remember them doing this to my back as a child. There are two controls: One is ragweed, which nearly everyone responds to, and the other is nothing. It’s a neutral.
You then wait fifteen minutes to see which serums initiate swelling (hives) and to what degree.

This is the beginning of two arms


Once your results are final, you get swabbed down with alcohol and then can slather your skin with benadryl gel.

You know what didn’t really react at all? CATS AND DOGS
Har har.
Cockroaches, mice droppings, very few trees, and loads of grasses. Rye grass was off the charts. Timothy hay did show up as a reaction, but not terribly so, and even slightly less was Orchard Grass. I guess that sort of confirms the theory with bunny and guinea pig owners that Orchard Grass may be less threatening to you than feeding/keeping Timothy hay.

My results stay on file for 1 year so that I can start allergy shots (immunotherapy) but I can’t afford it currently. The facility can bill over $5000 to my insurance, and upfront I get to pay out 25% until it processes through my insurance, gets disallowances per contract, and months down the road I might see a check to cover part of my costs. You also have to purchase a sharps container, get a prescription for your needles at the pharmacy as well as an Epi-pen. My initial responsibility is at least $1400.

I am reluctant to say that it would max out my emergency credit card, and we drive and MINI and a Volkswagen, and that would be more irresponsible than purchasing a MINI or a Volkswagen.

Just hermetically seal me in the house. I’ll be fine.

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