Do you suffer from a constantly runny or stuffy nose, frequent sneezing attacks, watery and red eyes, or itchy and scaly skin? Some may experience symptoms all year long, while others may only experience symptoms intermittently and during certain seasons of the year.
Allergies are caused by the immune system reacting to things in the environment that are not normally harmful to your body. There are anti-histamines like Benadryl©, or Allegra© that help alleviate allergy symptoms. When typical OTC medications no longer alleviate symptoms, a patient may consider allergy testing and immunotherapy to identify and treat more severe allergy symptoms.
→Skin testing is the most common way to test for environmental allergies. For accurate results, you must stop all antihistamines for at least 7 days prior to testing.
SLENT tests for 38 environmental allergens most common to our area, using a 2 step skin test. The first step applies the antigens to your forearms to identify what you may be allergic to. The second step confirms the severity of the allergy.
This method of testing most accurately mimics the reaction that occurs in your sinuses/airway when you are exposed to what you are allergic to. Redness and itching of the application site is common but will be relieved once a Benadryl© cream is applied to the area, after testing is complete. Upon completion of the test, you may resume your previous medication regiment, including all over the counter antihistamines as needed.
→A blood allergy test can be performed to test for environmental and food allergies. Blood testing is typically performed when a patient is unable to stop taking certain medications such as a Beta-Blocker or antihistamines. You will be sent to a local laboratory to have blood drawn to test for a panel of allergens. This process is not as sensitive as skin testing but does offer a nice alternative for a select population of patients.
The results from the skin or blood test guide the process leading to Immunotherapy.
Allergy Treatment (Immunotherapy)
Should your ENT recommend Immunotherapy as a way to improve your symptoms, our clinic provides comprehensive care options. These options include allergy shots – Subcutaneous Immunotherapy (SCIT) or allergy drops – Sublingual Immunotherapy (SLIT).
The goal of Immunotherapy is to decrease your immune system’s overreaction to common things in the environment by gradually introducing those allergens in a controlled and increasing manner. This will strengthen your body’s tolerance for these allergens. We will use the endpoints from your skin test to custom make your antigen vials.
Immunotherapy will lessen the need for daily medications and improve your overall quality of life. Many patients begin to notice symptom relief within the first 3-6 months! Your progress will be monitored by our allergy nurse, in conjunction with your physician. Complete Immunotherapy can take anywhere from 3-5 years.
We encourage you to ask questions throughout your treatment so that we may provide the best experience possible and better control your symptoms.