Allergy Testing and Immunotherapy

Allergy Testing and Immunotherapy

Allergy testing identifies allergens like dust, pollen or pet dander, bee stings or types of food – which may trigger allergic reactions among people with a weakened immune system. The preventive treatment that is administered to treat the allergies is called immunotherapy.

Sneezing, coughing, nasal congestion, runny nose, headaches, scratchy throat, are some of the symptoms associated with allergies. When medications fail to adequately control allergy symptoms and/or avoidance of trigger factors is not possible, immunotherapy can be used as a mode of treatment. Skin prick/scratch test, blood test, are some of the ways to test your body’s response to specific allergens or allergy triggers. Immunotherapy, in the form of shots or medication, is a safe, effective treatment, which ultimately enables your body to tolerate substances you are allergic to. An ENT doctor will choose the best test for you based on symptoms and potential allergy triggers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Allergy testing can help determine which particular pollens, molds, or other substances one is allergic to. Allergens or allergy causing substances can trigger a variety of conditions like asthma, hay fever or allergic rhinitis. You may need medication to treat your allergies or alternatively, knowing the allergy triggers, one can try to avoid exposure.

Allergic reactions can range from mild to severe. In some severe cases, allergies can trigger a life-threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis, which could range from respiratory to cardiovascular to skin related reactions.

Immunotherapy is a preventive treatment for allergic reactions and involves giving gradually increasing doses of the substance, or allergen, to which the person is allergic. This incremental increase of the allergen causes the immune system to become less sensitive to the substance, probably by causing production of a “blocking” antibody, which reduces the symptoms of allergy when the substance is encountered in the future. Immunotherapy also reduces the inflammation that characterizes rhinitis and asthma.