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.
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.