|Allergy Associates, PC||
Skin testing can determine allergies to animal dander, dust and dust mites, insects, fabrics, foods, latex, mold and mildew, and grass, tree, or weed pollens. Skin tests are done by placing little drops of each suspected allergen on your forearm then lightly pricking the skin with a plastic applicator to break the top layer; also sometimes small needles actually inject the allergen directly under the skin. A timer is set for 20 minutes and if the skin is itchy, red or has welts it is scored on a zero to four scale to determine which allergen you are allergic to.
Different Tests that could be used to diagnose various types of allergies include:
Immunotherapy (Allergy Shots)
Immunotherapy is one of the most effective treatment against airborne allergens, such as, pollen, dust and mold. Once the patient’s allergies are known from the skin testing, a minuscule amount of each allergen is injected into the patients arm which triggers the production of antibodies that can actually block allergy symptoms. The dose is gradually increased each week until eventually the patient can be exposed to the allergen without symptoms occurring. This process can begin working within 4 to 6 months, and needs to be continued for as long as 3 to 5 years. We also offer sublingual therapy for those who qualify.
Pulmonary (Lung) Function Test
Pulmonary Function Test (PFT) is a special computer designed test to measure the force of air exhaled and inhaled into the lungs. There are three measurements that are especially important when measuring lung functions. The Forced Vital Capacity (FVC) measures the total amount of air, in liters, in the lungs. The Forced Expiratory Volume (FEV1) measures the amount of air expelled in the first second the air is forced out of your lungs, this is usually restricted in asthmatics. The last measurement, and perhaps the most important in detecting asthma, is the Forced Expiratory Flow (FEF 25-75). This assesses the amount of air in the small airways, or bronchioles, which are usually narrowed in asthma.
Food Allergies Diagnosis & Education
If you get red, itchy welts after eating, you may be allergic to foods. However, there are a lot of other symptoms: headache, nausea, vomiting, cramps and of course allergy and asthma symptoms. The most common food allergies are fish, tomatoes, nuts, berries, milk and eggs. Once the culprit food has been detected by allergy testing, an elimination diet can be implemented which slowly introduces these foods in gradually increasing amounts. This process may actually reduce the sensitivity to certain foods.
Once the allergy testing is complete, our staff will go over certain precautions you can take to actually decrease the amount of allergy-causing triggers in your immediate environment. By following these environmental controls, you will most likely notice an improvement in your allergy and asthma symptoms.