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If you have lived in Austin for very long, you are not a stranger to environmental seasonal allergies. Though we all love Austin, it is filled with all sorts of lovely allergens. PAA wants to help you determine the cause of your child’s allergies so that you have a plan to help your child enjoy the city we all love.
Allergies can present with several different symptoms; the typical symptoms include congestion, runny nose, sneezing, and itchy eyes. Sore throat, skin rashes, headaches, and swelling may be present as well. In rare cases, allergies, such as allergy to a food, may lead to anaphylaxis, which can be a life-threatening reaction. Allergic reactions can be easily treated so they do not impede your child’s lifestyle.
Thankfully, allergies can be easily treated so that your child can continue to have an active lifestyle. The best first treatment for allergy is to identify triggers and learn how to avoid them. This can be determined by allergy testing. After determining the allergy, we can recommend ways to avoid future contact with the allergen and medications in case there is allergen exposure or an allergic reaction. Allergy treatment depends on the severity of the reaction. Seasonal allergies are treated with oral antihistamines and nasal steroid sprays, whereas food and severe allergies usually require lifestyle modifications.
Allergy skin testing is the most accurate and sensitive way to determine the cause of environmental allergies such as to pollens, molds, dog or cat dander, dust, feathers, and cockroaches.
At PAA we perform environmental allergy testing. Our seasonal allergy testing is identical to that used by local allergists at Austin Family Allergy and Asthma. The office visit usually takes 30-45 minutes, depending upon the clinical situation.
Our registered nurses prick the skin with an 8-pronged pain-controlled plastic device that has been dipped into the allergen solution. The device is gently pressed into the skin of the back (feels like a getting touched with a pencil or a fingernail) and then the allergen sits on the skin for 15 minutes while we wait to see the reaction. The skin test is evaluated after 15 minutes and allergies are determined by the degree of reaction at the skin test site.
Often the testing causes localized itching which resolves gradually with cleaning the back, applying anti-itch cream, and taking an over the counter antihistamine if needed. After the testing is complete, you will meet with one of our Pediatric Nurse Practitioners to discuss your results and treatment suggestions. We will provide a copy of your results, a central Texas allergy chart, an after-care instruction sheet, and local allergist referral information (for those patients who desire allergy shots or immunotherapy allergy drops for treatment).
Seasonal allergy testing is available for PAA patients aged 4 years and up.
For those who would like to schedule an appointment, call our front desk. Our scheduler will email you an information sheet detailing the medications that must be avoided or stopped prior to allergy testing. Because some allergy medications need to be stopped 7 days before testing, we may not be able to provide an appointment within the week of your call.
PAA is not performing any type of food allergy testing or antibiotic allergy testing. For this testing, please consult with your primary care provider who can recommend the best resources for you.