Allergies affect 30% of adults and 40-50% of children in the US. Over 50 million Americans struggle with allergic responses each year. Allergies are the 6th leading cause of illness in the United States, and over twelve-million physician office visits each year are caused by allergic rhinitis. While many allergies to pollen or pet dander are mostly annoying and uncomfortable, sometimes it can result in significant decreases in quality of life, missed work, and school. Rarely, allergies may also send a person into anaphylactic shock, which is a potentially life-threatening situation.
At Lake Grove ENT, our board-certified otolaryngologists specialize in allergy management, allergy testing, and immunotherapy to treat allergy. Immunotherapy decreases the symptoms of allergic rhinitis in about 85% of people who have sensitivity to allergens.
An allergy is a medical condition that occurs when your body’s immune system reacts abnormally to a foreign substance or allergen.
The immune system normally adjusts to your environment. However, an allergy is where the immune system overreacts and your body attacks a foreign substance that is not actually harmful, making you sneeze, cough, swell, etcetera, to rid yourself of the substance despite its innocuous nature. Such allergens include pollen, pet dander, or foods, like shellfish and peanuts, that we encounter in our day-to-day lives.
You can be allergic to just one thing or many different things. Some of the most common allergens include:
People with one type of allergy may have an increased risk of becoming allergic to other substances, especially if they are chemically similar.
Allergic responses vary from person to person, as well as according to the specific allergen involved. The symptoms of a mild allergic reaction may include:
More severe allergic reactions include:
Anaphylaxis is a sudden and severe allergic reaction that can develop rapidly after exposure to an allergen, resulting in life-threatening symptoms that include:
If you experience any of these symptoms, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. Urgent attention is needed to prevent severe symptoms and possible death.
An important first step to getting your allergies under control is allergy testing. Our Board Certified ear, nose and throat specialists will determine whether allergy testing is an appropriate option for you. We are Fellows of the American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy, and consider testing and management a natural extension of the many of the disorders that we see.
In addition, our dedicated Allergy Nurses Jill Lamb, RN, and Carly Montgomery, RN will walk you through the process.
Skin testing is a form of allergy testing that provides thorough and accurate results. There are two primary types performed at Lake Grove ENT: the screening Skin Prick Test, and the follow-on Intradermal Test.
During the Skin Prick Test, the skin is exposed to up to 38 suspected allergens via a small skin-prick device. Swelling or redness indicates positive correlation with one or more allergens.
Based on these results, an Intradermal test is performed, wherein an identified allergen is placed just under the skin. This helps to quantify the level of reactivity to the allergen for future treatment options.
Skin testing takes about an hour and fifteen minutes, and we usually test for the most-common allergens in the Pacific Northwest. We encourage our patients to get tested during the Fall, when environmental allergen levels are decreasing. This minimizes reactivity at the site during testing, and establishes a treatment timeline to reduce symptoms next season.
We offer two types of immunotherapy options: SCIT (shots) and SLIT (sublingual drops that are placed under the tongue). Insurance coverage between these two options may vary, though our staff will help you understand your benefits.
If you are trying to get your allergies under control, allergy testing is the first step. Give Lake Grove ENT a call at 503-699-0370 to schedule a consultation with one of our Ear, Nose, Throat doctors.