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Allergy Services

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Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Services

Our board certified allergists, nurse practitioner and registered nurses are specially trained in the treatment of allergic conditions. As a first step towards diagnosing allergies, an extensive history and physical would be performed in our office by one of our board certified allergists or nurse practitioner. If your history indicates possible allergic problems, we would suggest allergy skin and/or blood testing. Allergy skin testing can be initiated on your first visit to our office.

Allergies can also induce asthma; therefore, if this is indicated in your history and physical, we would suggest allergy testing as well as pulmonary function testing (lung capacity test) to establish the level of your asthma.

Allergies

Our primary panel of allergy skin tests consists of 32 different airborne allergens. Airborne allergens consist of a variety of trees, grasses, weeds, molds, dust, mite and animal dander. Many times foods and pollens cross react. Therefore, we may recommend food testing as part of your complete allergy workup.

Asthma

Many times people with asthma also have allergic disorders. We treat our allergic asthmatic patients just as we do our allergic patients. Skin testing would be recommended, as well as pulmonary function testing.

Immunology

Our board certified allergists are specially trained in evaluating all aspects of the immune system. Individuals experiencing recurrent ear infections, sinusitis, bronchitis or pneumonia may have an underlying deficiency within their immune system. By undergoing a complete immunologic evaluation, supportive and treatment measures can be instituted that help minimize infections and shorten the recovery period.

Treatment

Allergen immunotherapy simply means allergy shots. Immunotherapy helps reduce your allergy symptoms by changing the way your immune system responds to the allergens. Immunotherapy is a long-term commitment. A majority of patients that receive allergy injections on a regular basis experience a significant decrease in allergy symptoms and medication use.

Immunotherapy (Allergy Injections)

  1. Injection treatment is used to obtain long-term improvement or reversal of an allergic problem. It consists of regular injection(s) of the substances to which you are allergic and which are causing your symptoms. The substances (or allergens) to be injected are determined by the doctor after reviewing your history, skin tests and lab work.

  2. Immunotherapy requires prior appointments but we offer very flexible times for established patients. Thereafter, the doctor will see you approximately every 6-8 visits so he/she can monitor your progress. However, you must see the doctor if you are having symptoms from your allergy. The injections do not cause symptoms except in very rare cases. (See below).

  3. As progress is made, the frequency of injections may become less; this usually does not occur until at least a full year of treatment has been carried out.

  4. The average patient requires treatment for 3-5 years. This will vary with the patient and type of symptoms. Injections are given year round, as this has been proven to be the most successful method of treatment.

  5. After receiving an injection(s), patients should wait in the office for at least 20 minutes and before leaving, have their arm(s) checked by one of the assistants. This is an important precaution for the patient. It is used to detect any unusual swelling at the site of the injection (a small amount of itchy swelling is normal), and to guard against the very rare possibility of a more serious reaction such as reproduction of your symptoms. If any swelling occurs at home after leaving the office, be sure to tell the doctor or nurse at your next visit before you receive your injection.

  6. If swelling or itching is uncomfortable, an ice pack or antihistamine will help relieve this. This is rarely necessary.

  7. During injection treatment, some medications by mouth or spray may have to be continued.

  8. Patients respond to injections at different rates. It is difficult to predict an individual's precise length of time injection treatment will be necessary. However, regular, as opposed to erratic treatment, is associated with faster and usually better results.

  9. When patients are acutely ill, e.g. significant flare-ups in asthma, or generalized hives, fevers, fresh colds, strep throat, flu, etc., injections are usually not given in the first day or two of these episodes. If there are any questions regarding this, call and check on the day of your injection. Allergy injections are also usually not given within 24 hours of any other type of injection (e.g. influenza).

  10. On occasion your injection may bleed. If this happens to you, please ask the nurse for a band-aid. Most patients avoid soiled clothing by rolling up their sleeves or wearing short sleeves.