Allergy shots, also called allergy “immunotherapy”, are reserved for patients with severe allergies to pollens, pet dander, dust mites, or molds. Allergy shots are the most natural treatment for allergy sufferers since they are made with actual plant pollen, pet dander, etc. We prepare a unique allergy shot prescription for each patient. The patient then receives injections with increasing concentrations of pollens, dander, etc. Over the course of weeks and months, allergy shots “reprogram” the immune system to be less allergic. We ask patients to wait in our office for 30 minutes after their allergy shots (we have free WiFi), just in case there is a shot-related reaction.
Allergy Skin Tests
Skin prick testing involves scratching the surface of the skin with common allergens (e.g. pollens, animal dander, molds, foods, etc). We usually do skin tests during your first visit, and it only takes 15-30 minutes to get an answer.
Occasionally some allergy evaluations require an intradermal skin test. This kind of test involves a tiny injection under the surface of the skin. It is identical to a TB test, if you have had one of those.
Some allergy evaluations require patch testing, where we place a small amount of test material on the surface of the skin. Due to the slow nature of this method, patch testing may require 2-3 visits to clinic during the same week.
Spirometry (aka pulmonary function testing)
Patients with asthma, cough, or other breathing problems may be asked to do a breathing test called spirometry. In this test, patients blow through a tube, and the results are recorded by a sensitive machine.
Food and Drug Challenges
When we do not suspect there is allergy, but are not completely sure, sometimes we will perform a challenge. In this procedure, the patient takes a small amount of the food or medication (usually by mouth), and we observe for a period of time. If there is no reaction, then the patient is not allergic. If there is a reaction, we are prepared to treat the patient.