If you experience the following symptoms you may have allergies:
- Itchy, watery, swollen eyes
- Post nasal drip
- Runny nose
- Ear congestion or frequent ear infections
- Frequent sinus infections
You may also experience less common symptoms:
- Loss of taste or smell
- Sleep disturbances
Suffering from allergies may interfere with your quality of life. Some allergy sufferers have become accustomed to living with their symptoms and are unaware that seeking help from a board certified allergist can change their quality of life!
Skin and Patch Testing
The purpose of your first visit is to determine the cause of your symptoms so we can develop an individual treatment plan. Your visit will include a detailed medical history, physical examination, and, in many cases, allergy skin testing. If necessary, you may also have X-rays, laboratory test, and/or a lung function test.
After we have obtained a full history and necessary testing has been completed, we will review our findings and recommendations with you. In most cases, this will occur on the same day as your initial evaluation.
We will discuss a course of treatment outlined in detail. You are encouraged to ask questions, and if possible, to have your spouse or significant other present so that all concerned will fully understand what is necessary for the treatment to be as successful as possible.
Please do not take any antihistamine medication for at least 72 hours before your first visit. These medications may interfere with allergy skin test results. If you are taking Claritin, Zyrtec, or Allegra, please stop 5 days prior to your appointment. If you are taking Hismanal, please stop three weeks or more prior to your appointment.
Antihistamines are found in many allergy, cold, and sinus medications. If you have any questions about the type of medication you are taking, please ask one of our staff members or your pharmacist.
Skin testing is the most sensitive way to determine allergy to tree, grass, and weed pollen, as well as mold, house dust mite, and animals. Due to the nature of patch testing, the initial visit to place the patches will occur on a Monday. The first interpretation visit will take place on Wednesday of the same week and the final interpretation will occur on Friday of the same week.
Small disposable plastic devices are used to apply tiny “pricks” to the forearm (or back, for small children). Depending on the results (interpreted after a few minutes), additional testing may be applied underneath the skin on the upper arm. For this procedure, a cream containing a topical anesthetic may be used to assist in making infants and small children more comfortable.
Patch testing may be used for patients with suspected delayed allergic reactions that occur several hours or days after exposure to foods or chemicals. This non-invasive procedure involves the application of small paper adhesive “patches” (each containing a distinct chemical or food) to the back. The patches remain in place for two days and then they are removed. Results are interpreted at two and four days following the application of the patches.
Prior to patch testing:
- No medicated steroid creams or ointments on the back (2 weeks prior)
- No oral steroids (2 weeks prior) [Prednisone, Orapred, Prelone, Medrol Dosepak]
- No tanning bed or sun exposure (2 weeks prior)
- Wear old (preferably dark-colored) shirt
- Men, if necessary, shave back (2 days prior)
Patch Testing Steps:
- Forty-five patches will be applied on Monday. (For small children, three patches will be placed, and then two patches placed two weeks later.)
- Patches will be removed and reviewed on Wednesday.
- Patches will be reviewed again on Friday. You can finally get your back wet now!
During Patch Testing:
- Continue to use no creams or ointments on back
- No oral steroids
- No tanning bed or sun exposure
- Do not get patches wet or take them off (if patches loosen, you may reattach with hypoallergenic surgical tape)
- If itching occurs, may use oral antihistamine for breakthrough itching
- Try not to scratch back
- No excessive sweating