SAN ANTONIO -- Doctors are urging allergy testing as one of the worst allergens in Texas starts to flare up.
On Tuesday, Advanced Allergy celebrated its grand opening in Schertz by offering free testing for mountain cedar allergies. Allergy specialist Dr. Patricia Dinger says the tree wreaks havoc during the winter, especially after Thanksgiving, as the weather gets colder.
"It really releases a ton of pollen," Dinger said. "You can see, if you ever shake out a mountain cedar tree, just that puff of what looks like smoke."
As families packed the small clinic, nurses administered the tests which consist of a pin-prick and a 20-minute wait to see if the proteins from the pollen create a reaction.
Tricia Thomas, a mother of two, says her children have had allergic reactions every winter in Texas and wants to know what's causing it.
"They've been on allergy medications all their lives," Thomas said. "I just want to be able to treat it specifically."
Dr. Dinger says, like any allergy, reactions to mountain cedar are easily treatable with an anti-histamine or environmental controls like a home air filter. The problem, she says, is that she often sees people avoid testing and then learn the hard way that they're allergic.
"You end up with a bronchitis or sinusitis and then you end up in urgent care getting a steroid injection," Dinger said.
The tests are usually covered by insurance, according to Dr. Dinger, but for those who don't have insurance, each individual test for each allergen costs roughly $10.