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Itchy nose or throat or nasal congestion can be signs of allergies ... or something bigger if the problems persist.

Itchy nose or throat or nasal congestion can be signs of allergies ... or something bigger if the problems persist.

Allen Seiden, MD, specializes in sinus and allergy issues.
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Publish Date: 09/30/10
Media Contact: AHC Public Relations, (513) 558-4553
Patient Info: Screenings will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 5, in the UC Health Physicians Office on Piedmont Avenue in Clifton. To make an appointment, call (513) 475-8400.
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UC HEALTH LINE: UC Health Offers Free Allergy Screenings Oct. 5

CINCINNATI—UC Health otolaryngologists will host free allergy screenings Tuesday, Oct. 5, to screen patients for the most common allergens.

During the appointments, patients will be screened for the common sources of inhalant allergies in a variety of classes: dust mites, mold, grass, maple tree, ragweed and cat.

"Most people that have allergies are sensitive to a variety of allergens, and certainly it is different for different people,” says Allen Seiden, MD, UC Health allergy specialist. "However, it would be unlikely for someone to have allergies and not be sensitive to at least one of these.”

The screenings are done via skin prick testing, in which a very small amount of the allergen is put into an indentation in the skin of the forearm. If the patient is sensitive to any of the allergens, he or she will experience a small amount of swelling near the specific allergen. The swelling generally goes down shortly after the test.

"If someone does react, then it would be worthwhile following up for a full appointment and evaluation,” says Seiden.

Symptoms that usually indicate a need for allergen testing include:
  • Respiratory: itchy eyes, nose or throat; nasal congestion, runny nose, watery eyes, coughing or wheezing.
  • Skin: hives or itchiness.
  • Anaphylaxis: a serious allergic reaction affecting many parts of the body at the same time.
While hives and anaphylaxis are often clear signs of an allergic reaction, Seiden cautions that not everyone with nasal symptoms has allergies.

"In fact, many more people think they have allergies than actually do,” he says. "It is helpful to know if your symptoms are related to allergies, since you can then take certain steps to help control the problem.  This would include various measures to cut down on exposures, taking certain medications and even considering allergy shots.”

For some patients, he says medications can be very helpful and even enough to control the symptoms. For patients who cannot control their symptoms with medications, allergy shots may be worth considering.

Seiden is one of nearly 150 UC experts answering health-related questions from consumers on NetWellness, a collaborative, health-information Web site staffed by Ohio physicians, nurses and allied health professionals. For more information, visit

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