Why Keeping Active and Eating Well Are Not Enough – Maintaining Good Air Quality Is Also Key to A Healthy Lifestyle

Given the events of 2020, you are likely spending more time indoors, specifically in your own home, than ever before. While we often put time and energy into eating well and staying active, there is a hidden health culprit in our now more highly frequented home environments that we rarely consider – the air we breathe.

Keeping ourselves and our families healthy during this pandemic is on everyone’s mind. And while many of us can apply nutrition and movement to our health routine, it’s important to remember that good air quality is just as pivotal to our overall health, especially for those who suffer with allergies or respiratory issues.

Maintaining good air quality might seem simple: have good ventilation, control contaminants, and maintain optimal humidity to reduce allergens like dust mites, fungi and mold. Yet, there are many lesser-known challenges of maintaining optimal air quality throughout our indoor spaces.

Without proper knowledge, ensuring the good quality of the air we breathe in our indoor spaces, like our homes, offices and schools, is easier said than done. There are many factors that can affect the air quality in your home and by extension your health, but the variables that affect indoor air quality can be broken down into three main categories: indoor environmental issues, indoor air contaminants, and insufficient air exchange.

Indoor Environmental Issues

Indoor environmental issues include humidity, which can affect your health in two ways. First, if there is too much moisture in the air (high humidity) and you are asthmatic, you may notice an increase in your asthma attacks. High humidity can also contribute to dust mites and fungi spore growth. On the other end, if there is not enough moisture (low humidity), you and your family may suffer from respiratory tract infections frequently.

Other indoor environmental issues include poor air circulation, meaning there is very little airflow or movement in your house. This might be a problem if you have very few windows in your home or office. You may not be in an area where you can leave your door open to let in the fresh air.

Indoor air quality can also be affected by ventilation system issues, specifically the condition of your HVAC system. The air might be unevenly distributed throughout the system. Another problem might be that the exhaust ventilation is insufficient.

Modern homes are particularly vulnerable to this type of problem.

Indoor Air Contaminants

You may be surprised by the number of air contaminants that can affect our indoor spaces and prevent healthy breathing. These include pollutants from human actions such as smoking tobacco. Construction materials in new homes and remodels are also damaging to air quality from resulting particles including fiberglass, asbestos, formaldehyde and dust.

There are also harmful chemical solvents hidden in everyday items like perfume, glues, disinfectants, cleaning solutions, solvents, pesticides, paints and even our carpets and furniture, where bacteria, fungi and molds can live.

Insufficient Air Exchange

In order to keep the air inside as healthy as possible, you should always have good external ventilation of air frequently. Stagnant air carries a higher concentration of aerial contaminants and allergens.

Maintaining Better Health with Healthy Air Quality

There are many hidden health culprits existing in our modern indoor spaces. Even in our own homes. Unlike other elements of maintaining a healthy lifestyle such as exercising or eating well, keeping our air quality clean is low-maintenance and a low-time investment with a simple piece of technology: an air purifier.

While there are several reasons why you should consider an air purifier for your health, we have listed our top five reasons:

1. Keep allergies at bay

Allergy sufferers know how absolutely debilitating an allergy attack can be. Sometimes the symptoms can be quite overwhelming which include sneezing, a runny nose, coughing, post-nasal drip, nasal congestion, itchy nose and eyes.

Regardless of your allergies, an air purifier will help ensure your indoor air quality is at a healthy level, helping you to control and improve symptoms. Air purifiers are also quite adept at filtering out the harmful allergens and are recommended for allergy sufferers, as they provide added protection against severe attacks.

2. Managing pets impact on allergies

Pets are well-known causes of many allergies. An air purifier allows you to have pets even if you have allergies, as it helps to remove pet dander (dead cells from hair and skin) in the environment that may worsen allergic symptoms.

3. Improving respiratory problems

If you or a loved one suffers from asthma or any condition that might be worsened by allergies, an air purifier is an excellent idea. Sometimes attacks are unpredictable so keeping your air clean and healthy with an air purifier helps minimize attacks and makes breathing easier.

4. Improving air quality in a new home

If you have just moved into a new home, it is a good idea to buy an air purifier. It may help to remove harmful irritants like paint fumes leaving the air healthy to breathe.

5. Lessening the impact of tobacco smoke at home

If a loved one is a smoker and you have allergies or breathing issues, it can be tough. However, an air purifier can contribute to cleaner air.

I certainly want you and your loved ones healthy on the other side of this pandemic.

DTAP Cares – Here For You, Here With You

The increase in social distancing and progressive lock down measures in Singapore and around the world during this COVID 19 season have prompted a big change in the way we care for our patients here at DTAP clinic.

The numbers around the world have been alarming as Spain and Italy have become the countries worst hit by the virus with over 6,000 deaths. The need to stay home and observe social distancing have slowed down the spread of COVID, not overwhelm the healthcare system and most importantly save lives.

At DTAP Clinic, we’ve made many numerous steady changes to our day to day operations to protect our staff and our patients.

This is what we have done at DTAP clinic 

  1. Screen everyone who makes an appointment or comes through our doors with the Ministry of Health’s criteria
  2. Check everyone’s temperature and symptoms of cough, respiratory illness
  3. See our patients on an appointment basis – this means NO OVERCROWDING, in the clinic and effective social distancing
  4. Increase frequencies of disinfecting the clinic and if a patient who saw us has any symptoms we thoroughly disinfect the clinic after the patient leaves. (Of course with the usual Personal Protective Equipment worn)

Where it is important to stay home, we are also cognizant that one can still get symptoms, need their medication refills and pick up other non covid diseases all the same.

Furthermore, the sellout of condoms around the world tells us that people staying home are resorting to millenial old, tried and tested forms of entertainment.

To further strengthen our support and commitment to our patients in these uncertain times, we have also thus done 3 more things to ensure our patients are fully cared for 


In light of the COVID-19 situation, we are offering DTAP Teleconsult. This teleconsult service allows our current patients and new patients to connect with our doctors during clinic operating hours for non-emergency consults. After assesment and consultation, we will also deliver your medications straight to your doorstep. Learn more

That’s right, our very own teleconsult service where our DTAP clinic doctors address your health concerns as much as possible in the comforts of your own home!

If it is deemed that you need a blood, urine, swab test to further confirm your diagnosis, we would then schedule you at the next most convenient time slot, AWAY FROM OTHER PATIENTS.

And if our doctors deem that you should require medications, again you can get them via our delivery service or our pickup service, more details below.

And if our doctors deem that you should require medications, again you can get them via our delivery service or our pickup service, more details below.

2. DTAP Medication Delivery Service

Getting your medication on time is important. As part of our initiative to provide better patient care to our patients, we are now providing delivery service to your doorstep – Anywhere in the Singapore mainland. Learn more

If you need a refill of your medication prescription, or need to get treatment after your tests, or even get new meds after our doctors have diagnosed you,

Have no fear, together with our partners we deliver to your doorstep the very next day. 

And of course all this is within the SS644 Singapore medication delivery guidelines, where the integrity of the medication, your personal data are fully respected and protected 

So from the comfort of your own homes, you can get the essential medications you need, or if you were planning a special night with your loved one, not be caught out without your trusty blue pill even.

3. DTAP Order & Pick Up

Last but not least, for those who live and work nearby our clinics and want to drop in quickly to pickup your repeat meds, or even new medications, getting your payment done online and the items prepared would allow you to skip the queue, skip the wait and in between your busy lunch hour or schedule, you can still get your errands done, all in a heartbeat.

Stay safe amidst the current situation and remember to look out for your family and loved ones!

Staying at home but sneezing?

The Patient Journey
A DTAP Stay Home Series Part 2

In part 1 of our series, we shared a bit on the statistics surrounding COVID 19 and some simple steps one can take in minimizing the spread of germs. This centered around the whole idea of preventing droplet spread. And because of this, many of us have opted to stay at home and even work from home.

In fact, droplet spread stems from coughing and sneezing and the droplets which contain viruses tend to stay on surfaces and ultimately persist for up to 24 hours. That is why the 2 biggest health recommendations were to wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing to prevent the spread of germs via the droplets AND the washing of hands especially after touching surfaces outside. 

At team DTAP, not only have we encouraged each and everyone of our staff to maintain and work on their personal hygiene, we have also taken the active step to further increase the frequency of sterilization at our clinics. In fact this was a snapshot of our recent communiqué with our staff.

Our main priority always is to protect our staff and patients. If anyone is found to have fever and upper respiratory tract symptoms (coughing, running nose etc), the prerogative as per the Ministry of Health (MOH) Singapore’s recommendations is, for that member of staff to be on unfit for work status for 5 days and resting at home.

The rationale behind such a thinking is that if the infection causing the upper respiratory tract infection was the garden variety, ample rest would allow the body to recover. However, if the opposite were true and if this was indeed a COVID 19 infection, time would unmask this as the index person would have a persistent fever, signs of airway infection and even breathing difficulties.

The WHO-China report tabulated 56,-000 cases and found that almost 90% had fever as presentation, 7 in 10 had a dry cough, slightly less than half of those polled had lethargy and fatigue and only 5 in a 100 had upper airway nasal symptoms such as runny nose, blocked nose or even sneezing.

So if you are caught up at home in this period of MC5 (5 days of unfit for work) or even on a Stay Home Notice or Quarantine Order (see first article in series), there’s no need to fret as you allow your body to rest and recuperate.

But what happens when you continue to sneeze during this period, and, despite sanitization efforts, you worry that others may look at you funny and steer away from you?

Let’s delve deeper into what causes one to sneeze; when irritants or infective agents such as bacteria or viruses irritate the airway, chemicals are produced by the body to activate the mucus producing glands resulting in a “runny nose”. These chemicals also activate the nerve endings in the nose and result in one getting an “itchy nose” and ultimately an “AH CHOO”, sneeze !

Although the medical literature has reported that only 5% or 5 in a 100 cases of COVID 19 have concurrent symptoms of sneezing, running nose or blocked nose, I am sure that the persistence of your nasal symptoms may alarm you.

When you speak to one of our doctors, in the absence of fever (I will share more in our next article part 3 of our series on the persistence of fever), we will try to understand your travel and contact history and also see whether there are any known irritants you may have come into contact with recently that could signify an allergic cause of sneezing.

Sneezing is usually significant and caused by an allergy when,

  • There is an observable pattern of sneezing, especially coming into contact with certain environments
  • When it starts to affect your daily quality of life – going to work tired and drained, suffering the symptoms on a day to day basis – watery eyes, clogged nose

Based on these symptoms and history, the next step often is to figure out what allergies you might be suffering from – Take an allergy test!

This can be done with a few ways mainly either through a comprehensive blood test or through a skin prick test.

After the tests are done, a report (sample above for blood test IgE) is produced. This report will be discussed with you and the type of allergen as well as degree of allergy will be identified.


Knowing your allergy is the first step to finding an active plan in dealing with the allergy.

This active plan will be individualized and customised specific for your needs and lifestyle. But they might involve anything from Immunotherapy, avoidance of allergens, to even carrying around an Epipen with you in view of serious life threatening allergies.

Remember, if you are staying home and still sneezing, the chances of it being COVID19 is low if you had no contact with anyone from the infectious clusters locally or abroad. But if you are sneezing at home and persistently especially in the morning, it could well be an allergy that can be further investigated and treated.

Stay safe, dispose your used tissues in the bins and remember to keep sanitizing your hands!

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Why Should I Get My Allergies Treated?

A beginner’s walkthrough + secrets from the doctor on dealing with allergies…

There are many reasons and benefits to get your allergies treated. One of these reasons is to prevent the progression of the “allergic march”.

What is this allergic march you may ask? If the allergy is not diagnosed or treated, it can progress from sensitive skin (eczema), sensitive nose (allergic rhinitis) to food allergies or even sensitive lung (asthma).

This means that if we treat allergies early enough, you can save yourself the trouble from developing a sensitive nose, lung sensitivities or asthma.

All in all, this represents cost savings to you and your family, saving on doctor’s fees, medications, downtime at work or even precious time with your loved ones. Furthermore, the improvement in one’s quality of life, especially being able to enjoy your day at work or play without the spectre of allergies looming is immeasurably priceless.

There are many permutations how a life where allergies are treated and under control can play out – from getting a good night’s sleep without sneezing, to starting your day at the park with your family without feeling lethargic and drained to even enjoying a cherished and quiet moment with your loved one at a cafe without having to reach for a packet of tissue papers to stop a runny nose dripping mucus down your face.

Many studies have shown that treatments for nasal allergies and asthma are cost-effective. Cost-effective because of the monies saved from seeing the doctor or taking medications during a flare-up, cost-effective also from an improved quality of life.

Also Read: Doctor’s Overview Of Allergies & How To Help You And Your Loved Ones

Doctor, so how then can I get my allergies treated? Is there a permanent solution for this?

Well my discerning reader, I am glad you asked. Because there is a very permanent solution to treating and curing nasal allergies. But before I jump to that I will discuss steps you can take at home and natural remedies to improve your condition. We can then discuss a little about medical treatments available and last but not least, the permanent solution for allergies we brought up earlier.

See: Cure for Allergy (Sublingual Immunotherapy) 


Natural non-pharmacological treatments

Without further ado, we start with some tips on, non-pharmacological in helping improve your allergies. I break them down into 2 major points. The first of which is things you can do at home and the second of which is a way to build your tolerance to allergies

Things you can do at home

  • Dehumidify your house – low humidities have been shown to improve lung functions of patients with asthma
  • Get rid of dust mites by Sunning and drying your pillowcases and bedsheets under the warmth
  • Air purifiers that also have a HEPA filter (think Dyson, Xiaomi)
  • Dust protectors
  • Washing and vacuuming carpets and curtains regularly
  • Smoking cessation

When it comes to pets, current studies done have been conflicting to whether having a child exposed to a pet cat or dog in the first year of life would improve or worsen allergy sensitivities later in life, BUT if you do have allergies yourself (another good reason to get tested), there is a higher chance of your child inheriting the same genes which cause sensitivities.

Also Read: How Do I Stop Sneezing? – Allergy From Cleaning

Building your tolerance to allergies

A well-described study 10 years ago listed the following tips which may help build a tolerance to allergies. There were some impractical suggestions such as taking unpasteurized milk or living on a farm but we will focus on the more practical solutions we can adopt in our daily lives

Read: How Do I Know If I Have An Allergy


Consumption of probiotics

  • Increase in outdoor physical activities and time in nature
  • Taking more fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Consumption of healthy diets – the Mediterranean diet has often been mooted as a healthy paradigm

PS: Of course, this list is not exhaustive and it serves as an adjunct to treatment.

Where possible, we always advocate medications when necessary.


What are The Causes of Allergy?




The first line of treatment comes in the form of tablets known as antihistamines. They are useful in providing relief for mild allergies, but most of the time, for those who have moderate to strong allergies, the relief is often short-lived and minimal.

Furthermore, there is an effect known as tachyphylaxis where over time, there is a diminishing response to the medications. Some antihistamines are also unfortunately drowsy, good for sleeping at night but not good for those who need relief in the day during their work.

Examples of antihistamines include – Loratidine, Zyrtec, Diphenhydramine, Chlorpheniramine, Telfast


The next set of medications that are useful for allergies are decongestants. They act by constricting the mucous membranes in the nasal passages, decreasing the symptoms of a blocked nose and are available either as nose sprays or tablets.

Examples of decongestants include Iliadin nose drops, Fedac, Clarinase, Zyrtec (D) and Telfast (D)

For nose drops such as iliadin, preparations for infants and babies are also available, but caution is advised as these cannot be used for more than 5 days as it causes a rebound blocked nose. However, for short term use, they are safe and effective.

Nasal rinses (Salt water nasal washes)

For many patients with allergies, a thick layer of mucus or even allergens can get trapped in the nasal mucosa surfaces.

If using nasal spray medications such as decongestants or intranasal steroids, these medications can fail to get to where it is needed for absorption if the nasal passages are clogged with mucus.

Furthermore, some allergens may remain trapped on these airway mucosal surfaces resulting in the recurrence and unremitting of symptoms.

There are many nasal rinses that are available over the counter from pharmacies – from Nettipot to Sinusrinses. BUT again caution is advised that these rinses have to be done with Saline (salt water) and not normal water otherwise it would not work! Also, the saline comes as sachets which you mix water with, and these come together with the sinus rinse / nettipots as a package.


This fancy sounding tablet medication blocks the chemical reactions that can lead to  inflammation in the airways. This medication is relatively new, only introduced in the last 10 years and is used in both sensitive nose and sensitive lungs. It can be taken with antihistamines and it improves symptoms. It is also safe and well-tolerated for children (with a chewable form with a nice flavour)

Examples: Montelukast, Singulair

Nasal Glucocorticosteroids

People are often worried about the negative connotations behind steroids as treatment. In fact, low doses of steroids especially targeted at the nose are found to be extremely effective for allergic nose symptoms.

These are very well tolerated but usually, need at least 1 week for a cumulative effect to build up and subsequently see the manifestation of its benefits.

Common examples of this include Nasonex and Avamys.

Inhaled Glucocorticosteroids

In treatment and prevention of asthma, inhaled steroids – often known as the brown, red or purple inhalers, help reduce and prevent airway inflammation and subsequent asthma symptoms.

Examples of this include Symbicort, Seratide and Beclomethasone.

In asthma, inhaled corticosteroids are used for moderate to severe asthma. Again, because of the life-threatening incidences of asthma, it is always advisable to keep asthma under control and prevent flare-ups.

Whether it is inhaled steroids or nasal steroids, at recommended doses which is targeted, they are very safe, even for children and have NO long term or negative effects on children and adults.

Oral Glucocorticosteroids

In adverse situations where asthma control is poor, tablet steroids are given as a short course over a few days to quickly reduce the inflammation in the airways. These have their own short term side effects such as risks of gastric ulcers or causing blood sugars to rise in those with diabetes, and your doctor will balance the pros and cons of this treatment, including the necessary precautions before prescribing this.

Examples of this medication include prednisolone, hydrocortisone.

Topical steroids

For conditions such as eczema, topical steroids such as creams or lotions are effective in the short term reducing the inflammation and irritation on the skin. But long term usage causes the skin to thin and may resultantly interfere with the skin’s repair.

For the skin’s natural barrier repair and protection, we always advocate using moisturizers instead.

Common examples of topical steroidal preparations include hydrocortsone, elomet, clobetasol, desowen.

Doc, you’ve rattled on and on about different medications I can take for my allergies, but what about the long term, the permanent solution you were talking about?

Well, if you have read on this far, let me cut to the chase.

The definitive way of treating allergies is ultimately to target the root cause. And at Dr Tan & Partners (DTAP Clinic), we offer a2 step solution in identifying the root cause and treating it.

Step 1: Allergy Testing

This is either done with a Skin Prick Test – suitable for children and adults. And whilst skin prick does sound scary, rest assured that it is well tolerated by children where a plastic prong is used to introduce a small amount of allergen onto the skin, thereby eliciting a response.

More on that in our allergy testing video

How Does Skin Prink Test Work?

This procedure is PAINLESS but ITCHY. The downside about skin prick testing is that the choices for testing are limited and not as vast as blood testing. Some patients do prefer a simple and quick blood test where others preferred to be spared the pain of a blood test. Whichever your choice, knowing your allergy is half the battle.

Step 2: Allergy Treatment

Allergy Treatment would then involve “priming” the body on a daily basis to recognize and eventually stop reacting to the exact cause of the allergy. This treatment is also known as Sublingual Immunotherapy or SLIT.

A mix of low dose allergens are created in a spray, this spray is taken once a day under the tongue for 3-5 years. Another preparation specifically for dust mite allergies also come as an under the tongue tablet for adult patients. For those with dust mite allergies and frequently on the go, this might be a better option of SLIT rather than the spray.

This 2 step approach has brought lots of success for allergy sufferers and usually, patients start to see an improvement of their symptoms at 6 months

Improvements such as lesser frequency and or severity of symptoms, lesser usage of medications, effects of cure lasting long even after treatment has been completed.

In fact, 2 large medical bodies have further supported the benefits of SLIT. The World allergy organization describes the benefits of SLIT as follows: besides controlling symptoms, SLIT has the potential to completely cure such allergies for good and or even prevent them from developing at all (allergic march).

Singapore’s Ministry of Health has also released recommendations that SLIT should be considered for children over 5 that have poor control of their sensitive nose (repeated attacks and symptoms) even with maximum oral therapy and also for those children who are unable or will not take medications. In simple terms, SLIT is good for children who do not like taking medications or when medications are no longer effective.

And if you are a parent, worried about your child’s allergies, you would be pleased to know that across numerous studies, SLIT significantly reduces their nasal symptoms and has a nearly 4x likelihood of NOT developing asthma. For those children who already have asthma, SLIT also shows a reduction in asthma and the associated lung allergies.

Safety and side effects

To sum everything up, it is also important to know that SLIT has an extremely good safety profile. In more than 60 studies done in the year 2006, more than 1 million doses of SLIT were administered across more than 4000 patients with ZERO life-threatening reactions.

However, just like all medical treatment, there were still some side effects which occurred in 14 out of the million doses. These included itchiness and swelling over the mouth, lips or throat. Stomach pain, discomfort, nausea, asthmatic symptoms.


If you wish to speak to our doctors about the above allergy testing and allergy treatment, please email us at hello@dtapclinic.com.sg. You can also walk-in or call our Holland Village branch for Skin Prick Testing or Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) Allergy Treatment.


Other Read:

  1. How Do I Stop Sneezing? – Allergy From Cleaning
  2. How Does Skin Prick Test Work?
  3. How Do I Know I Have Allergies?
  4. Why Should I Get My Allergies Treated?
  5. Doctor’s Overview Of Allergies & How To Help You And Your Loved Ones

Tag: allergy test singapore


Doctor’s Overview of Allergies & How to Help You and Your Loved Ones

Accept?, Avoid? or Act! – A doctor’s overview of allergies and how to help you and your loved ones

Stuffy or Runny Nose? 
Postnasal drip coughing? 
Itchy, watery eyes?
Itchy Rashes?
Sneezing, feeling tired, irritable and miserable?

Chances are if you or your child has faced any of the above symptoms, you likely are suffering from allergies.

Allergies are becoming more common worldwide. In our urban environments such as Singapore, industrialization and climate change has caused more people to become sensitive to allergens, developing new allergies or even getting worse symptoms from their present allergies.

Besides the persistence of symptoms, the indirect costs of an undiagnosed allergy pile up – medications that do not work, medication side effects, frustration, unable to enjoy a normal day and the list goes on…

Read: How Do I Know If I Have Allergies?

In the adverse situation, the allergy may worsen in the “allergic march”. If you or your child’s allergy is not diagnosed and treated, there is a chance the allergy will go from sensitive skin (eczema),  sensitive nose (allergic rhinitis) to food allergies to mild lung allergy (bronchial hyper-reactivity) and then to severe lung allergy (asthma).

The symptoms we described above can all be caused by a simple sensitive nose!

According to the World Allergy Organization (WAO)’s white book report, for those with allergies, more than half of adults, as well as 9 in 10 children, suffer from concurrent sleep problems. These sleep problems add up and cause daytime lethargy, tiredness and even decreased cognitive functioning. These further translate into behaviour and inattention problems in children and learning disorders in class.

Targeted and appropriate treatment for allergies prevents the “allergic march”. This can prevent future development of sensitive nose, mild or severe lung allergy, potentially saving families money and time.

Home remedies and medications such as antihistamines, decongestants, nasal sprays all help decrease allergies and their resultant symptoms. But they do not cure the problem. The symptoms often come back after the medications are stopped. 

The definitive way of treating allergies is ultimately to target the root cause. And at Dr Tan & Partners (DTAP Clinic), we offer a 2 step solution in identifying the root cause and treating it.


Step 1: Allergy Testing (Skin Prick Testing)

Allergy Testing involves a Skin Prick Test (itchy and painless procedure suitable for young children) or a blood test to determine the nature of the allergy. These allergens can be anything from house dust mites, cat or dog dander, pollen or even food such as eggs, peanuts, seafood!

Read more: How Does Skin Prick Test Work?


Step 2: Allergy Treatment (Sublingual Immunotherapy or SLIT)

Allergy Treatment then involves “priming” the body to stop reacting to the exact cause of the allergy. This treatment is also known as Sublingual Immunotherapy or SLIT. A mix of low dose allergens are created in a spray, this spray is taken once a day under the tongue for 3-5 years. Most patients see an improvement after 6 months and the best effects are usually seen after 4 years.


SLIT is currently produced for and useful for inhalant allergens only. (I.E unfortunately not useful for food allergens yet)

Studies have shown an improvement in symptoms, reduce reliance on medications and the lasting effects many years later even after treatment has stopped.

Overall this is a safe and effective treatment with no life-threatening reactions reported in over 4500 patients treated.

So if you have been nodding your head in agreement with the points I’ve shared in this article or even wonder if you have an allergy, speak to our doctors today to get your allergy questions answered once and for all!

If you wish to speak to our doctors about the above allergy testing and allergy treatment, please email us at hello@dtapclinic.com.sg. You can also walk-in or call our Holland Village branches for Skin Prick Testing or Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) Allergy Treatment.
Other Read:

  1. How Do I Stop Sneezing? – Allergy From Cleaning
  2. How Does Skin Prick Test Work?
  3. How Do I Know I Have Allergies?
  4. Why Should I Get My Allergies Treated?
  5. Doctor’s Overview Of Allergies & How To Help You And Your Loved Ones

Tag: allergy test singapore

How Do I Know if I Have Allergies?

There are many ways in which someone with allergies may present. It could be in the form of an itchy, runny or blocked nose (allergic rhinitis) or a wheezy cough with shortness of breath, to itchy watery red eyes or even rashes along the skin.
Read on and if you find any of these symptoms familiar, you might want to explore Allergy Testing and Allergy Treatment further to get rid of those nasty symptoms once and for all!

What Do You Need to Know About Allergy (Video)

1. Sensitive Nose (Allergic Rhinitis)

The medical definition for the sensitive nose is Allergic rhinitis. This is diagnosed when you have 2 or more of the following symptoms that persist for more than an hour on most days

  1. Runny Nose
  2. Blocked Nose
  3. Sneezing
  4. Itchy Nose

To further guide our diagnosis, we ask 2 more questions

  • How often the symptoms occur? – persistent (always) or intermittent (once in awhile)
  • How severe are the symptoms? – mild ( does not affect daily life) or moderate-severe (affects daily life)

In such situations, we recommend allergy testing such as skin prick test to determine what you are sensitive to and also how severe the sensitivities may be.
Also Read: How Do I Stop Sneezing from Cleaning!

How Does it Work Skin Prick Test Work?

Skin prick test is usually performed on the inner forearm or upper back.
After cleaning and marking the area, tiny lancets that barely penetrate the skin surface will be used to introduce a minute amount of the allergens into the skin.

2. Sensitive Lungs (Asthma)

Asthma is a condition that causes airways to become swollen, narrow and produce more phlegm and mucus. This results in symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, chest tightness or even shortness of breath.
Asthma symptoms can range from mild to severe which can be life-threatening. Unfortunately, there is no “cure” for Asthma but the symptoms can be controlled well so that one’s quality of life does not get affected. Furthermore, asthma severity may change over time, depending on the season, climate and temperature.
There are certain situations which trigger off an asthma attack. For some, it may exercise-induced asthma, where exercise causes the airways to spasm and narrow resulting in an asthma attack. For some others, it may be occupational asthma where the work environment may carry irritants, fumes, gasses, dust which triggers off an attack.
And lastly allergy-induced Asthma, which i will be discussing in greater detail. These are triggered by allergens that are airborne. These allergens may be anything from cat or dog dander, cockroach waste, pollen, molds or spores.
By knowing the allergen that triggers of this kind of Asthma, not only can we avoid it, but for some allergens, there is suitable treatment options Allergy treatment which can desensitize one to the allergens and thus minimize a subsequent attack.

3. Sensitive Eyes (Allergic Conjunctivitis)

For some, allergies may present itself as watery, itchy red eyes. These usually occur when the person is exposed to the allergen (usually airborne), triggering these sensitivities of the eyes. What usually makes it worse is when the eyes get itchy and one tends to rub the eyes more, thereby causing the redness and irritation in the eyes to worsen.
Some common allergens that may trigger off allergic conjunctivitis may Inhalant allergens panel. For some others, perfumes, cosmetics, creams and lotions that get into the eye may also trigger this.
Treatment options for sensitive eyes revolve around allergen avoidance and eye drops as well.

4. Sensitive skin (Atopic dermatitis)

This topic of sensitive skin is an extremely broad topic. Generally speaking, they can be divided into atopic dermatitis – a type of rash that is triggered from an allergy or contact dermatitis – a rash that occurs after chemical exposure.
For the latter, it is less common in younger children and the rash usually occurs around the site of chemical exposure.
But for the purposes of allergy testing and treatment, we explore this topic around atopic dermatitis. Some people also call this Eczema.
The diagnostic criteria that are present in atopic dermatitis include

  1. Itchy Skin
  2. Eczematous Rash (itchy patches on hands, elbows, bending areas (flexures, face, neck or back of arms, sparing the groin and armpit regions.)
  3. Improving and subsequently recurring rash
  4. Known allergy
  5. Family history of allergies
  6. First appearing at a young age

In fact, most patients who have atopic dermatitis also have a concurrent allergy to food or environmental triggers. By knowing and avoiding these allergens, one can prevent a type 1 allergy reaction from occurring (Hives, Urticaria, Wheal) – which is tested with skin prick testing.
For some people with eczema/Atopic dermatitis, their flare-ups are also triggered by allergens, which can be further avoided, mitigated when knowing what these allergens are.

Other types of allergies

There are more severe manifestations of allergies such as anaphylaxis (a life-threatening condition where the airways get swollen, difficulty breathing, choking, blood pressure falls).
If you have any of these symptoms, please inform your doctor as prevention is LIFE SAVING.
To find out more about another allergy testing, click here to find out more

  • Food allergy
  • Insect allergy
  • Occupational allergy
  • Drug allergy

If you wish to speak to our doctors about the above allergy testing and allergy treatment, please email us at hello@dtapclinic.com.sg. You can also walk-in or call our Holland Village branch for Skin Prick Testing or Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) Allergy Treatment.

Other Read:

  1. How Do I Stop Sneezing? – Allergy From Cleaning
  2. How Does Skin Prick Test Work?
  3. How Do I Know I Have Allergies?
  4. Why Should I Get My Allergies Treated?
  5. Doctor’s Overview Of Allergies & How To Help You And Your Loved Ones

Tag: allergy testing

How Do I Stop Sneezing? – Allergy from Cleaning

A “How To” series by Dr Tan & Partners
Have you been caught up with the whole Marie Kondo craze recently, discovering long lost items buried beneath heaps of other stuff that do not spark joy? Or simply packing and repacking your house because the festivities are around the corner?
But wait, as you happily get into your rhythm of packing and cleaning, you find that your nose starts to tickle, you take a few deep breaths and before you know it, a loud uncontrollable “Ah-Choo!”  You wipe away the mucus and continue packing but the sneezing does not seem to stop at all.
Apart from the possibility of someone constantly thinking about you, you start to wonder whether you have caught the flu. Or worse still, developed an allergy, an allergy to cleaning!
Also Read: How Do I Know If I Have Allergies 


Could It Be Possible That You’ve Developed An Allergy to Cleaning?

Does An Allergy to Cleaning Even Exist?

What is An Allergy?

Allergy is a common condition that can happen at any age, where the person’s own immune system overreacts with substances that are usually harmless for most people.
These allergens include anything from house dust mites, pollen, moulds (fungi), pet danders, insect sting/bites, a certain type of medicines and foods.

Allergy is, however, more common in people with atopy ( genetic / hereditary tendency for allergy), family and personal history of allergic rhinitis (sensitive nose), eczema (sensitive skin) and asthma (sensitive airways).
When exposed to allergens, the immune reaction is triggered! Subsequently, the allergic person produces antibodies called IgE antibodies, which results in the release of a chemical known as histamine.  This chemical histamine is then responsible for the various inflammatory symptoms that can be uncomfortable and distressing such as

  • Rashes ( eg. eczema flare ups),
  • Hives/urticaria,
  • Swelling of face/ lips/around the eyes,
  • Throat and tongue,
  • Runny or blocked nose,
  • Itchy watery eyes,
  • Abdominal pain,
  • Vomiting, and diarrhoea,
  • Wheezing,
  • Asthma,
  • and even difficulty in breathing.

These IgE mediated allergy symptoms typically appear within 1-2 hours after exposure to the particular allergens.
Sometimes, allergic reactions can be very serious and potentially life threatening, condition known as anaphylaxis. Patients with history of anaphylaxis, especially due to food allergy, are usually prescribed an emergency adrenaline injection, known as Epipen Injection, as delayed intervention can be fatal. These patients are also educated on how to use the injection and the importance of carrying it with them all the time.
Hence, It is very crucial to identify the potential allergy so that we can try avoid and reduce exposure to the particular allergens.

“So Yes I hear you about the whole allergy thing and how one may die from it but you have not told me how to stop sneezing yet!”

Yes my discerning reader, we are getting on to that in just a bit, bear with me, i’ll first have to cover this bit on testing for allergy. It is always better to know what we are dealing with rather than fight in the dark. 

How Do We Test For Allergy?

An allergy can be diagnosed with these 2 commonly used methods – an IgE blood test or a skin prick test. They can test for both food and non-food allergies.

Wait what a skin prick test? That sounds painful!

1. Skin Prick Test :

Hold on there, before you start worrying about anything which might be painful.. From our own personal experience (yes this writer has done the test on himself), apart from the mild discomfort, it is a procedure that i personally, and most patients tolerate well. There will certainly be no bleeding during the procedure.
For patients with sensitivity to the particular allergen, i.e a positive result, they will likely experience some itch and mild irritation over the test area.

This is a simple, quick and accurate test to diagnose allergy and the results can be known on the same day within 15-20mins !

How this Skin prick test is usually done is that small markings will be drawn on skin and tiny drops of allergens applied onto the skin. The allergens are introduced into the skin via tiny lancets that barely penetrates the skin surface.
This skin prick test is done on the inner forearm or upper back ( small children). After which, the doctor will look for a specific skin reaction, that appear as red, raised and itchy bumps, known as wheals. Size of the wheals will be measured and measurements more than 3mm is indicative of an allergic reaction.
Another caveat also is to avoid oral antihistamines at least 1 week before the test.
Skin prick test is generally very safe as only tiny amounts of the allergens are introduced into the skin. However, there are situations where skin prick test may not be suitable, such as :

  • Patients who are unable to come off oral antihistamines/ steroids prior to the test
  • Those who have severe eczema/ skin rash over the forearms/ back
  • Those with previous history of life threatening anaphylatic reaction.

2. IgE Blood Test :

As mentioned before, for persons with atopy, the immune system produces IgE antibodies against certain allergens. Therefore we can detect these specific IgE antibodies in a blood test.
A wide range of allergens can be tested via a single blood test in one setting. It usually takes about 1 week for results to be ready. No special preparation is necessary prior to blood test.
Sometimes, both IgE blood test and skin prick tests are done in a complementary fashion as useful parameters in the prediction and diagnosis for allergy.
 So if you have patiently read all this way till now, let me fill you in on what you’ve been waiting for.

How Do I Stop Sneezing !!

Allergy Treatment

There are several ways we can deal with allergy :

a) Avoidance

We can try our best to avoid the offending allergen, however, most times, it is just not feasible to avoid certain allergens especially inhalant allergens. Avoidance alone is usually inefficient.

2) Anti allergic drugs

Medications like oral antihistamines, oral decongestants, nasal sprays and corticosteroids can help ease or reduce symptoms caused by allergy as long as the symptoms are not serious or life threatening. However, they do not treat the allergy condition.
This means symptoms typically appear again when you stop taking the drugs.
For example, dust mites allergy is very common in those with allergic rhinitis. It is almost impossible to avoid dust mites completely, hence, patients will usually have to be on long term medications for symptom control.

3) Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT)

Immunotherapy is the only treatment that is capable of treating the root cause of the allergy.
This therapy works by desensitizing and downregulating the body’s reaction towards a specific allergen that is responsible for producing symptoms. Hence, gradually modifying the body’s allergic responses over time.
This is accomplished by intentional regular exposure of the specific allergens administered via under the tongue ( sublingual spray).
Sublingual immunotherapy significantly improves quality of life, reduces consumption of medications, and also reduces risk of developing asthma and new allergies in the future.

Clinical papers show success rates of SLIT up to 80% especially for inhaled allergens.

Improvement of symptoms can be seen as early as 2-3 months from start of the therapy. It is recommended duration of treatment is 3-5 years, hence, a firm commitment from the patient is necessary to help determine the success of treatment. Persistent effects from immunotherapy have been documented to last up to 10 years.
Symptoms can relapse if treatment is stopped prematurely.

How Do I Use SLIT?

2 sprays under the tongue daily is all that is needed. Generally we advise patients to avoid eating or drinking in the first 15 minutes after the spray to allow maximum efficacy of the treatment on the administered area. It has a pleasant pineapple taste.

How Safe is SLIT?

Sublingual immunotherapy is safe for children as young as 2 years old. Only about 1% of patients report temporary mild itching/ tingling under the tongue which resolves within 1 week.
SLIT is strongly recommended in World Allergy Organization (WAO) clinical studies.
So my dear reader, our 3As approach is what we advocate to acing your allergies. If you feel that it is time to act to alleviate your symptoms, speak to us already so that we can accompany you to ameliorate your sneezing. Okay with all these A words, you get the point of our 3 As – Avoidance, Anti-allergic medications, A novel therapy in Sublingual Immuotherapy
If you are interested to have an Allergy Testing, Skin Prick Test or Allergy Treatment, please drop us an email for appointment hello@dtapclinic.com.sg.
Stay Safe and May Your Cleaning Always Be a Joyful One!

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How Does Skin Prick Test Work?


A skin prick test is an accurate and reliable allergy test that can be used to diagnose allergies.

It is a simple and quick test that can generate results in 20 minutes.

How Does Skin Prick Test Work?

Skin prick test is usually performed on the inner forearm or upper back.
After cleaning and marking the area, tiny lancets that barely penetrate the skin surface will be used to introduce a minute amount of the allergens into the skin.
There will be no bleeding and most patients report only mild discomfort at the test area which subsides quickly.
Your skin may itch where the allergen is placed if you have a sensitivity to the particular allergen.
After 20 minutes, your skin will be observed for specific skin reactions, known as wheals.
Wheals appear as red, raised and itchy bumps that may look like mosquito bites. The bump’s size will then be measured to confirm the allergic reaction
Oral anti histamine medication should be avoided for at least 7 days prior to the test as it may affect the results.
The amount of allergens test on the skin is minimal. Hence, severe reaction to skin prick test is extremely rare.


What Are The Allergen We Test For

Skin Prick Allergy Test is only available at these 3 branches Kovan, Somerset & Holland V.

Egg Aspergillus Fumigatus (Fungus)
Cow’s Milk Alternaria Alternata (Fungus)
Peanut Bermuda Grass (Grass)
Almond Timothy Grass ( Grass)
Wheat Cat’s Dander
Soy Dog’s Dander
Prawn Blomia Tropicalis (Mite)
Codfish D. Pteronyssinus (Mite)
Sesame D. Farinae (Mite)
Gluten American Cockroach
Squid German Cockroach
Crab Mugwart (Pollen)
Clam Ragweed (Pollen)


Skin Prick Test May Not Be Suitable For

However, skin prick test may not be suitable for those following :
1) who have had life-threatening allergic reactions to certain allergens because the test would be too risky for them.
2) severe eczema or psoriasis on the areas that will be used for a skin prick test
3) or if you are unable to stop oral anti histamine medication prior to the test.
In such cases, an allergy blood test will be a more suitable alternative.

Skin Prick Allergy Test is only available at these 4 branches Kovan, Somerset, & Holland V.


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