Many common and recurring ear, nose and throat symptoms are caused by allergies and are often misdiagnosed. These include recurrent nasal and ear symptoms, sinusitis, postnasal drainage, coughing and hoarseness. ENT Specialists provides complete allergy testing and treatment. Our Otolaryngic Allergists are trained, and have extensive experience, in the medical treatment of allergies.
During your initial visit, your physician will carefully review your health history and current symptoms as well as your family’s health history. Routine skin testing is generally used to diagnose your allergy symptoms so your doctor can provide the most effective form of treatment. In certain cases, a blood testing must be used instead of skin testing.
Allergy testing can be performed in a variety of ways. Blood tests can be sent for evaluation, however, the doctors of ENT Specialists have had greater success for the treatment of allergies with the use of skin testing. During this testing a skin prick device is used to screen for potential allergies. We then check exact sensitivities with the use of small needles (painless). This provides an immediate assessment of the patient’s allergies and gives a very good idea of how allergic the patient is. This testing then allows for the preparation of an allergy vaccine which will be created specifically for each patient and can be used in allergy treatment.
Preparations for Allergy Testing
When your appointment is scheduled, you will be given instructions on how to prepare for allergy testing. It is important to discontinue all antihistamines 48 hours prior to testing. We will test for 30 different allergens including pollens, dust mites, molds, and pets.
Method of Testing
We utilize skin prick testing with the ComforTen device. This is an easy and comfortable solution for allergy testing. With these results we then check for allergen sensitivity with intradermal testing. This is typically performed on the arms, therefore, it is advisable to wear a short sleeve shirt.
Once your allergy has been diagnosed and you are aware of the environmental cause of your symptoms, one course of action is to avoid the allergen. However that is not always possible.
Several types of over-the-counter or prescription medications may be prescribed to control your allergy symptoms. Our Otolaryngic Allergists are experts at determining the best medication(s) for you. Allergy medications can be very effective in controlling symptoms but do not cure the allergic reaction. Allergy symptoms can only be prevented by changing your immune system’s response to the offending allergen. There are a variety of over-the-counter and prescription medications that may be prescribed by your doctor to relieve your allergy symptoms. These may include antihistamines, decongestants, prescription nasal sprays, leukotriene inhibitors and more.
Immunotherapy builds up blocking antibodies by repeated exposure of allergens, reducing your allergic response and possibly eliminating the allergy altogether. When allergen avoidance and medications do not successfully control your allergy symptoms, your Otolaryngic Allergist may recommend immunotherapy. Through shots or oral drops, your doctor can change your body’s response to the problem allergen over time. Immunotherapy can improve or eliminate symptoms, as well as reduce or eliminate the need for medications and future treatment. New allergy drops can save you time and money. Research shows that the use of allergy drops builds up the same response as traditional allergy shots without the need for injections or frequent office visits.
Sublingual Immunotherapy (Allergy Drops)
While the symptoms of allergic rhinitis may be reduced by avoiding the triggering allergen and/or anti allergy medication(s), the only known cure for allergic rhinitis is immunotherapy. Allergy shots (subcutaneous immunotherapy or SCIT) have proven to be effective and remain standard treatment at our practice and throughout the country.
An alternate method of immunotherapy (sublingual immunotherapy or SLIT) works by placing allergy drops under the tongue once a day. Multiple studies have proven this method to be effective with results similar to standard injections. In fact, SLIT is now more common in Europe than injections.
Both methods are based on the same principle: controlled exposure to extracts over time changes the immune response, effectively creating blocking antibodies and reducing or eliminating allergic symptoms.
ENT Specialists is now offering sublingual immunotherapy as an alternative treatment for those patients whom immunotherapy is recommended but are unable to tolerate or complete a regular injection schedule. Patients enjoy the convenience of using these drops at home rather than coming to the office on a weekly basis for their shots.
Allergy drops are taken on a daily basis, placed under the tongue and absorbed. The dosage is increased over a 3-month period to reach full strength. Most patients will begin to experience significant reduction in symptoms within one year although three years of treatment is recommended to obtain maximal benefit. Side effects are unusual and mild, usually irritation under the tongue that requires no treatment. No serious side effect such as anaphylaxis has been reported. An office visit every 3-6 months during treatment is recommended.
Although studies are currently being done throughout the country, SLIT is not yet an FDA approved treatment method. Insurance will cover office visits and allergy testing but will not cover the cost of the allergy drops. We are now able to provide customized allergy drops based on patient specific testing at an average cost of $75 per month.
Please contact our office at (248) 477-7020 or (810) 844-7680 for any additional information or to schedule an appointment with one of our physicians. We will be happy to discuss all available treatment options and recommend the best treatment for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why test for allergies?
Finding out what you are allergic to is an important first step to effective allergy treatment. Today allergy tests are more convenient and accurate than ever before. When combined with an examination and medical history by your doctor, allergy testing can identify the specific things that are causing your allergies.
What allergies can allergy testing find?
Our allergy tests help find allergies to tree, pollen, weeds, grasses, dust mites, animals, and molds.
Who should treat my allergies?
Otolaryngic Allergists are best qualified to diagnosis and treat ear, nose and throat symptoms. Allergies are a common cause of symptoms they see every day. Your Otolaryngic Allergist can also provide a broader range of health care solutions including medical and surgical treatments.
What Are Allergy Drops?
Allergy drops are a new and more convient form of immunotherapy. Patients are prescribed allergy drops they take outside of the doctor’s office. Using allergy drops saves patient’s time and money because a weekly appointment is not necessary. Talk to your Otolaryngic Allergist to find out if this is a right course of treatment for you.