Allergy Testing and Treatment
Doctors of The Christ Hospital Physicians - Ear, Nose & Throat are committed to providing superior management for patients with symptoms related to allergies. Our offices are fully equipped to deliver the most comprehensive examinations and allergy testing utilizing nationally-recognized and proven techniques. Treatment options may include allergy medication, desensitization, or avoidance based on personalized results. Our allergy team helps schedule tests and coordinate care at any one of our four convenient locations throughout Greater Cincinnati.
A complete otolaryngology examination helps your doctors detect whether your symptoms may be caused by allergies. During the examination, doctors of The Christ Hospital Physicians - Ear, Nose & Throat will likely evaluate your medical history and perform a physical specific to your symptoms. The physical may include visual inspection of the oral and nasal cavities, neck, throat and tongue using a small mirror and/or light.
A combination of screenings known as percutaneous multi-test and intradermal dilutional test are methods used most often by doctors of The Christ Hospital Physicians - Ear, Nose & Throat. These methods are recommended by the American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy. The blended method of two testing techniques is proven to provide accurate results with minimal discomfort and increased safety for our patients.
When medically necessary, a third testing method called ImmunoCAP may be used to determine other immunoglobin E allergies. Immunoglobin E is one of the five subclasses of antibodies, or proteins in your body, that attack bacteria, viruses and allergens and can usually be found in your lungs, skin and mucous membranes.
Treatment for allergies will be individualized based on severities and triggers. Treatments suggested may include:
Medications may be a very effective mode of management for both recurrent allergies exposure and chronic allergies. However, there is still no known treatment for food allergies.
Oral antihistamines are available over-the-counter. Nasal steroids are a very effective group of drugs to combat allergy symptoms and are prescription. Nasal steroids work by a different mechanism than antihistamines so the two are often prescribed together and act collectively to reduce allergy symptoms. Topical antihistamines require a prescription and have a great effect on allergies and can also be used for the constant, daily runny nose that often occurs with aging.
People often make the mistake of stopping their allergy medications when they feel better. This often leads to a return of symptoms if the allergy exposure continues. It is best to consider these medications as chronic control and take them daily for best results. If you have a question about stopping your medications, call one of the allergy coordinators at The Christ Hospital Physicians - Ear, Nose & Throat.
Allergy Shots & Oral Drops
The traditional allergy shots can now be replaced by sublingual desensitization, or allergy drops, placed under the tongue. Both modes of therapy actually attempt to change your immune system and reduce your sensitivity to the allergen so that an exposure is better tolerated. Allergy testing allows us to tell which agents are the reactive ones and at what level to begin a safe course of desensitization.
Injection Immunotherapy is the traditional allergy shot therapy for adapting your immune system to tolerate exposure to environmental allergens. Following allergy testing, a patient-specific vial is prepared based on both the type and level of sensitivity. Test doses are administered in the office to look for excess reactions and the dose is gradually built up under the careful observation of the allergy coordinator at The Christ Hospital Physicians - Ears, Nose & Throat. Allergy injections must always be given in a medical office setting under the supervision of a physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant. For your convenience, this can be set up for you at any of four convenient locations or at your primary care office. However, the initial dose must be administered at one of our offices.
Sublingual immunotherapy, or allergy drops placed under the tongue, is a safe and effective way of changing your immune system to tolerate exposure to environmental allergens. As with the shots, after allergy testing confirms which agents you are sensitive to, a starting solution is prepared by our allergy coordinator for administration under the tongue. The dose is increased on later mixes until a therapeutic level is reached. Reactions to the allergy drop mixture are less common that allergy shots and this can safely be done at home. Although the mixture is not often covered by insurance, the overall cost of the vial is usually less than the total co-payments needed for shot therapy. There is also less time required for trips to the office.
Once we determine you are allergic to a particular item, it is best to avoid contact with the agent. This is particularly important if the reaction is severe and causes swelling of the face, tongue or throat. This type of reaction is more often seen with food allergies such as nuts and shellfish; and also sometimes with insect venom exposures such as bee stings. Pollen and other environmental exposures rarely cause severe and life threatening reactions, but can cause coughing, asthma, a runny nose and congestion. Therefore, avoidance of even these agents may be helpful in your allergy management.
Doctors of The Christ Hospital Physicians - Ear, Nose & Throat are trained and board-certified nasal allergy specialists. For more than 25 years, they have provided allergy tes ting and medical management for patients suffering with sinus and allergy symptoms.
Allergy technicians of The Christ Hospital Physicians - Ear, Nose & Throat assist the doctors with al lergy medicine specific tasks, such as scheduling patient's appointments, assisting during in-office exams and procedures, coordinating patient's care plans and preparing immunotherapy specific to each patient's needs.