No one likes allergies.
Whether it’s ragweed, dust, or dogs, allergies are disruptive. An allergy is the body’s abnormal reaction to a substance found in the environment or diet that does not affect most other people. The immune system reacts as if something that is normal in the environment is the “enemy.” Allergies can come on gradually or suddenly, bringing on symptoms that can affect quality of life, including sneezing, watery or itchy eyes, stuffy or runny nose, postnasal drip, head congestion, chronic cough, wheezing, asthma, headaches, skin rashes, dizziness, hoarse voice, fatigue or recurring ear or sinus infections.
What can be done about allergies?
Oakdale ENT specializes in diagnosing and treating allergies that affect the ear, nose and throat. Diagnosing allergies involves a comprehensive history, physical exam, and allergy testing. This process is essential to understand any and all allergens contributing the symptoms. We work with patients to tailor a treatment plan designed to help them find relief. Oakdale ENT has helped thousands of patients tackle allergies.
You will be asked to complete an extensive survey to determine your specific problem areas and exposures to common allergens. In addition, we will ask you to provide a complete list of medications to determine which, if any, may interfere with testing.
A comprehensive physical examination is essential to an accurate diagnosis and includes an assessment of the following:
Eyes – Are they swollen, teary, or red?
Nose – Are there swollen nasal mucous membranes or structural defects?
Ears – Is there fluid in the middle ear or any damage to the eardrum?
Sinuses – Is there any tenderness or indications of infection?
Mouth – Are there any changes from breathing only through the mouth?
Throat – Are there any indications of postnasal drip or infection?
Chest and lungs – Are there any signs of infection or asthma?
Skin – Are there any signs of allergy such as hives or eczema?
Allergy testing involves a skin or blood test to determine what substance, or allergen, may trigger an allergic response. Oakdale ENT has found skin tests to be both fast and reliable.
Skin Prick Testing (SPT) – this test involves placing several drops of a solution containing possible allergens on the skin, typically on the forearm. A series of small needle pricks enables those drops to penetrate the skin’s surface. If the skin reacts with a raised itchy area, that indicates a positive reaction, and probable allergy.
Intradermal Testing (IDT) – this test involves injecting a small amount of the allergen solution into the skin, typically the upper arm. IDT, a more sensitive test than skin prick testing, is typically used when a substance does not cause a reaction in the skin prick test but is still suspected as an allergen.
Oakdale ENT uses a combination SPT and IDT with a controlled testing approach called Modified Quantitative Testing. Careful positive and negative controls ensure maximum accuracy. Skin testing normally takes 1 to 1.5 hours. For patients whose medications may interfere with skin testing, or for those with existing severe skin conditions, blood testing is recommended.
Ready to schedule a consultation? Contact Oakdale ENT today.
Learn more about our approach to managing allergies.