Conditions We Treat
Allergy Asthma Clinic treats a variety of conditions, including:
- Hay fever, Allergic Rhinitis
- Nasal polyps
- Eye allergies
- Chronic cough
- Food allergies
- Allergic reactions to insect stings
- Skin allergies, including contact dermatitis, eczema and hives
- Angioedema, swelling
- Eosinophilic esophagitis
- Drug allergy
- Aspirin exacerbated respiratory disease (AERD)
- Antibody deficiency
- Other allergic and various immunological disorders
Immunotherapy (Allergy Shots or Desensitization)
Allergen immunotherapy, most commonly known as allergy shots or desensitization, is a form of treatment that decreases symptoms for many people with allergic rhinitis, allergic asthma, and other types of allergies.
Allergy shots decrease sensitivity to allergens and often leads to lasting relief of allergy symptoms even after treatment is stopped. This makes it a cost-effective, beneficial treatment approach for many people for adults and children over five years of age.
Is it Right for Me?
You and your Allergy Asthma Clinic provider will discuss your symptoms and base your decision regarding allergy shots on:
- Length of allergy season
- Symptom severity
- How well medications and/or environmental controls impact your allergy symptoms
- Your desire to avoid long-term medication use
- Time available for treatment
Food Allergies — Food allergies cause immune system reactions that affect about 20 percent of Americans, with cases most commonly occurring in babies and young children. While any food may cause an allergic reaction, eight types of food account for about 90 percent of food allergies: milk, egg, soy, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, and fish.
Symptoms — While food allergy symptoms vary significantly from person to person, as does the amount of food needed to trigger an allergic reaction, most food-related symptoms occur within two hours of ingestion. Common symptoms include digestive problems, hives, or swollen airways. The most severe allergic reactions may result in anaphylaxis, which can impair breathing, cause a dramatic drop in blood pressure, and affect heart rate to a fatal degree.
Some patients may experience an itching and/or tingling feeling in their mouths after consuming certain fruits, which is referred to as pollen-food allergy syndrome or oral allergy syndrome. For example, patients allergic to birch pollen can have this reaction when eating an apple. In rare cases, pollen-food allergy syndrome can lead to anaphylaxis.
Food Allergy Diagnosis
Following a thorough medical history and in-depth knowledge of symptoms experienced, your provider may order skin and/or blood tests.
Skin Test — A small amount of concentrated liquid containing the suspected food is placed on the skin of the arms or back. The skin is then pricked with a small sterile probe, allowing the liquid to seep under the skin. After about 20 minutes, a hive (bump similar to a mosquito bite) may form and will be compared to the bump at the site of the control, where a liquid not containing any allergen is placed.
Blood Test — A blood test (commonly known as RAST or ImmunoCAP) detects the presence of allergen-specific antibodies known as immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies. A “component test” can be ordered to gain more specific information and is mostly used for peanut allergies. Blood tests, while common, are not specifically based on patients’ detailed diet.
Due to the vast number of ingredients ingested in a given day, food allergies can be challenging so it’s important to keep a detailed diary of what you or your child eat as well as the timing and description of the reaction.
Homes, schools, and workplaces contain causes of environmental allergies including dust, animal dander, feathers, mildew, and mold spores. Add to that, the great outdoors with its airborne plant pollens and mold, and it’s difficult to avoid breathing in tiny substances that can wreak havoc. Your Allergy Asthma Clinic provider can work with you to minimize exposure and reduce your sensitivity to those allergens that affect you.
What are the Most Common Environmental Triggers?
- Dust mites are tiny bugs that live in bedding, mattresses, upholstered furniture, and carpets. Limit them by using special dust-proof covers on pillows, mattresses and box springs and cleaning them regularly.
- Limit stuffed animals.
- Keep windows closed during pollen season, especially during the day.
- Stay inside during mid-day and afternoon hours when pollen counts are highest.
- Take a shower, wash your hair, and change clothing after working/playing outdoors.
- Keep pets out of the bedroom and wash hands after petting.
- Bathe pets weekly to reduce dander.
- Control molds by cleaning bathrooms, kitchens, and basements regularly and keeping them well aired.
- Avoid tobacco smoke and do not allow anyone to smoke in your home or car.
- Stay away from strong odors such as perfume, hair spray, paint, cooking exhaust, cleaning products, room air fresheners and insecticides.
Patch testing is a specialized type of allergy testing to identify allergens triggering contact dermatitis. A small amount of a suspected allergen is placed in a small disc or well and applied to the skin. The skin is then inspected in several days to look for signs of an allergic reaction at the site, such as redness or perhaps blistering.
Your doctor will select the allergens he or she suspects are causing the problem then a panel of patch tests will be placed on your back. After 48 hours, the patches will be removed in the office and the tests examined for any reaction. Your doctor may have you return in 24-48 hours (or even 7 days later) for another reading.
While the patch tests are on, it is important to keep them dry, avoid getting sweaty and avoid a lot of bending so that the patches stay in place.
Once your allergens have been identified, your physician will review your triggers and ways you can avoid future contact.
Most substances causing contact dermatitis are found in products we use every day. These can be found in many places, including:
- Personal care products – Fragrances, moisturizers, shampoos, make-up, hair dyes, etc.
- Metals – Jewelry, belt buckles, watches, and at times in replacement joints or dental products
- Topical medications – Steroid creams, antibiotics
- Footwear – Rubber, leather, and other chemicals