Oakdale ENT specializes in diagnosing and treating allergies that affect the ear, nose and throat.  It’s quite common for allergies to be responsible for symptoms such as chronic ear or sinus infections, stuffy or runny nose, post nasal drip, or chronic cough, among others.

To properly diagnose allergies, Oakdale ENT uses a combination of a thorough health history, comprehensive physical examination, and blood and skin testing.  Note, our clinicians see patients five years and older.

Health History

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.

Physical Examination

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?

When examining children, the following may be indicators of allergies:

Allergic salute – the common motion when a child with allergies rubs his or her nose upward with the palm of the hand to reduce itching and to open the nasal passages.

Allergic crease – a crease on the bridge of the nose resulting from a child with allergies who often rubs his or her nose.

Allergic shiner – the dark color under the eyes caused by long-term nasal blockage and swelling under the eyes.

Allergy Testing

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 small needle pricks enables those drops to penetrate the skin’s surface. If the skin reacts with a red, 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 then 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 is 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.

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