Category: Procedures and Treatments

patch testing East Lansing

Chemical and/or Metal Patch Testing

Like the food patch test, testing can be performed to check allergies to certain chemicals or metals. A patch is simply placed on your back for 72 hours after the specific allergens have been added. The test is then read by our board-certified allergist/immunologist to interpret the results. This testing option is used for patients who experience speculated reactions from coming into contact with certain metals or chemicals.

Medication Challenge

A medication challenge is performed when it is believed that a patient is allergic to a certain medication and is the cause of an allergy or skin related problem. The test is always performed by the direct supervision of our board-certified allergist/immunologist. A very small amount of the allergen is inhaled or ingested orally while the patient is monitored closely for any reactions. The dose is usually increased with toleration over a period of several hours. Examples of medication challenges are Tylenol, Advil, Penicillin, and local anesthesia. This is helpful in determining if a patient is truly allergic to a specific medication or just has intolerance to it.

 

Treatment Options for Insect Stings

The best treatment for prevention of insect stings is to avoid contact with all stinging insects. Outdoors, avoidance of bright colors and sweet smells will also help to reduce the attraction of stinging insects. For those with severe reactions to stinging insects should always carry injectable epinephrine to be given in emergency situations. Epinephrine is an emergency medication that requires emergency care even after administration of the medication.

Testing is also available to determine exactly which stinging insects you are allergic too. Stinging insect testing consists of both intradermal and prick testing methods. Intradermal testing consists of injecting small amounts of venom under the skin and monitoring for a reaction.

On a case by case basis, our board-certified allergist will determine if lab work is a more suitable testing option to identify stinging insect allergies.

Immunotherapy injections (IT) are also available for those with an allergy to stinging insects. It is the same procedure as IT for environmental allergens, but replaced with small amounts of the insects venom that is increased with tolerance to a therapeutic level.

Your board-certified allergist or immunologist can help you determine the best treatment and testing options for you.

Treatment Options for Asthma

Asthma can be managed well with the right regimen of medications and treatment prescribed by your board-certified allergist or immunologist.

  • Corticosteroids are an effective medication that can be administered in a pill or inhaler form, depending of the severity of asthma. Examples include Qvar, Pulmicort flexhaler, Symbicort, Advair diskus, Flovent, Asminex, Dulera, and Alvesco.
  • Bronchodilators are known as rescue inhalers, which are used to open up the bronchial tubes allowing more air to flow through. Examples include ProAir.
  • Anti-leukotriene’s help to combat leukotrienes that are responsible for airway inflammation that occurs in the body. Singulair is a popular anti-leukotriene used to treat asthma.
  • Xolair is a treatment option only for patients with high IgE levels and moderate to severe asthma. Xolair comes in the form of an infection, similar to allergy injections, that bind to IgE and inactivates them, reducing asthma symptoms. Xolair helps to decrease asthma attacks in patients who still have asthma symptoms even with the use of inhaled steroids.
  • Immunotherapy injections (IT), also known as allergy shots, can be a very helpful treatment for asthma depending on the cause and triggers to your asthma. IT can help to decrease your sensitivity to environmental allergens which will help to decrease triggers for your asthma and asthma attacks.

Food Allergy Treatments

Patch Test Method: Placement of a patch that contains several different food allergens on the patients back or forearm that is left in place for 48-72 hours. The patient will return to the clinic to have the patch removed and the results interpreted.

Prick Method: The skin is pricked with a blunt needle that has been immersed with a variety of food allergen extract.

On a case by case basis, our board-certified allergist will determine if lab work is a more suitable testing option to identify food allergies.

There are currently no FDA approved treatments available for food allergies, although some clinics do offer sublingual immunotherapy treatment.

Patients with severe reactions to foods should always carry injectable epinephrine to be given in emergency situations. Epinephrine is an emergency medication that requires emergent care even after administration of the medication. You should have someone drive you to the nearest hospital.

Elimination diet is the best treatment option for those that suffer from food allergies. Elimination diet consists of eliminating the foods that the patient tested positive to and slowly reintroducing them after 6 weeks to determine if the food is truly an allergy or just a false/positive test result. The key to the elimination diet is a food and symptom journal, where the patient will write down how much they have eaten of a certain food and any symptoms that occurred. It is very important to record every food, amount, time of ingestion, as well as time that any symptoms occurred. This will help to notify you of any delayed food reaction and identify other food allergies not discovered during allergy testing.

Our board-certified allergist/immunologist will decide based on food allergy testing and/or patch testing results if collaborative care is warranted with a nutritional counselor and a gastrointestinal doctor for those with multiple and severe food allergies.

Environmental Allergy Treatment Options

Allergy Skin Testing

Prick Method: The skin is pricked with a blunt needle that has been immersed with a variety of environmental allergen extract.

Intradermal Method: This method consists of injecting a small amount of allergen extract into the superficial layer of the skin.

On a case by case basis, our board-certified allergist will determine if lab work is a more suitable testing option to identify environmental allergies.

There are several treatment options that are available for those who suffer from environmental allergens. Our board-certified allergist/immunologist will collaborate with you to determine the most effective and convenient treatment for you.

Allergy Medications

Antihistamines: Antihistamines are the most widely used medication to help treat and prevent symptoms caused by allergens. These medications help to block histamine from being used during a period of allergic reactions, therefore decreasing your symptoms. Examples of these medications are Benadryl, Allegra, Claritin, and Zyrtec.

Nasal Spray: Nasal sprays are also a common medication used to treat symptoms caused by allergens. There are two common types that your allergist may prescribe for you depending on your symptoms; an antihistamine or steroid based nasal spray. Nasal sprays work by decreasing inflammation and blocking histamine during a response to an allergen. Examples of anthistamine nasal sprays are Astelin, Patanase and Astepro. Examples of steroid based nasal sprays are Rhinocort, Omnaris, Flonase, Veramyst, Nasacort AQ, and Flunisolide.

Oral corticosteroids: Oral steroids are used in situations when allergic reactions worsen and do not responding to your usual medication regimen, exacerbation of asthma, or in certain skin conditions. Steroids help to decrease inflammation in your body by decreasing your immune systems reaction to foreign a stimulus.  

Eye Drops: Eye drops are used for those who suffer from allergic conjunctivitis (allergies of the eyes). Eye drops come in two types; antihistamine and steroid based. Eye drops work by decreasing inflammation and blocking histamine during a response to an allergen. Examples of an antihistamine eye drop are Zaditor, Visine-A, Patanol, and Pataday. Examples of steroid eye drops are Alrex and Lotemax.

Immunotherapy injections (IT): also known as allergy shots, is a long-term treatment option for those that suffer from environmental allergies and asthma. IT can help to decrease your sensitivity to allergens, lessening your symptoms and triggers that exacerbate allergies and asthma.

A small amount of allergen serum is injected subcutaneously into the skin and increases with tolerance to a therapeutic level. There are two phases with IT; building phase and maintenance phase. The building phase consists of weekly injections of serum that increase in strength each week and generally last 6 months depending on compliance. During the building phase you may start to notice a decrease in your allergy symptoms, but it can take as long as 12 months on maintenance dose to notice improvement. The maintenance phase occurs once a therapeutic level has been reached. The strength depends on your sensitivity and tolerance to the serum. During this phase injections are given every 2-4 weeks, which will be established by your allergist. Maintenance phase is usually continued for 3-5 years depending on the success of the treatment. The decision to discontinue IT will be made with your allergist.