Member of American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology • Clinical Trials Are Conducted at This Location

Allergy & Clinical Immunology Medical Group

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SERVICES

Services for treatment and diagnosis of Allergy and Asthma.

The physicians at Allergy & Clinical Immunology Medical Group use several diagnostic tools to determine the cause of your symptoms.  The following list of services highlights the most common diagnostic and treatment options recommended at our office.

Immunotherapy

Allergy shots (also called subcutaneous immunotherapy, or SCIT) are one of the best treatments available for your allergies and asthma and can lead to decreased, minimal, or no allergy symptoms.   It is one of the few disease-modifying therapies available in medicine and targets the underlying cause of various allergic conditions. SCIT offers the potential of improving asthma control, providing relief from allergy and sinus symptoms, and reducing the need for medicines in the future. In children, allergy shots are particularly helpful as they can reduce the risk of becoming more allergic or developing asthma later in life. There is a build-up phase and a maintenance phase. This is generally a 3–5 year commitment.

Cluster Immunotherapy

Cluster immunotherapy (rapid desensitization) is a method of accelerated desensitization utilizing allergy shots in clusters, or groups, one or two days a week until a maintenance dose is reached. After maintenance is reached, the patient continues with traditional immunotherapy. At each appointment, the patient will receive 1-3 doses of immunotherapy separated by a 30 minute waiting period. While sessions may last up to 2 hours, a patient can reach maintenance dosages in a little as 4 weeks. Such a schedule may be very appealing to patients desiring to see results quicker or whose schedule is better suited to a more intensive initial phase of immunotherapy.

Sublingual Immunotherapy (allergy drops)

• Not Yet FDA Approved
Sublingual is a safe and effective way of decreasing your allergy symptoms without injections and can be done at home. SLIT is currently being used in Europe and in some South American countries alongside SCIT. SLIT is currently not FDA approved in the United States, but research in both the US and abroad have shown sublingual immunotherapy to be a safe and effective treatment for allergic rhinitis.  Because sublingual drops are not FDA approved, this procedure is not covered by medical insurance. 

Allergy Shot

Wheat Field

Scratch (Prick) Testing

This type of testing is the most common and is relatively painless. A very small amount of certain allergens are put into your skin by making a small indentation or "prick" on the surface of your skin. If you have allergies, a little swelling (like a mosquito bite) will occur where the allergen was placed. If the scratch tests are negative, a more sensitive "intradermal" test may be used. We have over 150 allergens that we scratch test to!

Patch Testing

Patch testing is a reliable, safe way to diagnose the cause of contact dermatitis, a skin reaction that occurs when you touch or come in close contact with substance to which you are allergic. A series of panels containing allergens will be applied on your back and will remain there for 2 days. After 48 hour the panels will be removed and the doctor will read the reactions. A second read is done at the 72 hour mark. This type of testing is usually done if an allergy to dental materials, soap, cosmetics, jewelry, medication, metals, construction materials or rubber products is suspected. 

Blood Testing

Although scratch testing is considered a more reliable means of allergy testing, sometimes blood tests are ordered in situations where scratch tests are not available for a certain item or if there is a history of anaphylaxis.  A blood test (commonly known as RAST or ImmunoCAP) detects the presence of allergen-specific antibodies known as immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies. Additionally, a relatively new test, called a “component test” can be ordered to gain more specific information and is mostly used for peanut allergies.  When not properly utilized, the results of a blood test can be very confusing and may lead to unnecessary food restriction. Testing for allergy to stinging insects and Latex can also be done in this method.

Ingestion Challenge


An ingestion challenge may be conducted for medication or food allergy. In an oral food challenge, small increment amounts of food are fed to the patient over a period of a few hours to determine if a reaction occurs. Due to the possibility of a severe reaction, it must be conducted under medical supervision by an experienced doctor where emergency medication and equipment are on hand.  If a drug allergy is suspected, your allergist may also recommend an oral drug challenge, in which you will be supervised by medical staff as you take the drug suspected of triggering a reaction. (If your reaction was severe, a drug challenge may be considered too dangerous.)


Asthma Evaluation and Treatment

Asthma is a common lung disorder characterized by inflammation and muscle spasm within the small airways in the lungs, leading to symptoms of cough, wheezing, chest tightness and/or shortness of breath.  Asthma can develop at any age, but usually presents in early childhood or mid-adulthood. Most cases that occur in childhood improve greatly over time and with appropriate treatment. Asthma that develops in adulthood typically responds well to treatment but is less likely to be outgrown. Asthma has a strong genetic component and often runs in families. Individuals with allergic conditions such as food allergies, eczema and hay fever are at increased risk for the development of asthma as are individuals who have immediate family members with asthma. 

Definitive diagnosis and optimal treatment of each individual case requires not only periodic exams, but also measurement of lung function. This is accomplished with spirometry which measures the amount and rate of air flow from the lungs. Often spirometry is performed before and after the use of a bronchodilator medication such as albuterol. This medication will cause a characteristic rise in air flow confirming asthma. Other tests such as measurement of exhaled nitric oxide (NIOX) can also assist in the diagnosis of asthma. Since allergies are a common trigger in up to 85% of individuals with asthma, allergy skin testing is an integral part of the initial evaluation of asthma in order to optimize treatment.

Asthma severity varies greatly from very mild to debilitating. Asthma can be fatal and over 4,000 Americans die from asthma every year. For the vast majority of asthmatics, however, asthma can be well controlled with the right strategies and treatment.

Treating and evaluating asthma often involves breathing tests. We offer PFT (pulmonary function tests) and NIOX testing.

Immunodeficiency Workup

The body’s first line of defense against infectious diseases is the immune system. The specialized cells and organs of the immune system help identify and fight off these  pathogens. If the immune system is not working properly it can lead to serious disorders such as allergies, asthma, autoimmune diseases, or immune deficiency. Immune deficiency disorders lead to an abnormally low resistance to infection.The treatment options are specific for each condition. General measures such as eating a healthy diet, decreasing stress, increasing sleep, and practicing good hand hygiene may be warranted. Specific therapies like rotating antibiotic schedules, intravenous immunoglobulin, or granulocyte-colony stimulating factor may be necessary depending on the specific disease.

Board-certified allergist-immunologists receive two to three years of specialty training in the area of immune dysfunction and immune deficiency and are experts in this field of medicine.

Shellfish

Bees

Insect Allergy Testing and Treatment

We test for allergies to stinging insects such as

  • honey bee
  • wasp
  • mixed vespid
  • yellow jacket

Allergy injections are available for those allergic to stinging insects.

Immunizations

  • Pneumococcal Vaccines: Prevnar and Pneumovax.
  • Flu Shots: Regular, preservative-free, high dose (65 years and up).
  • Flu Mist: Nasal spray will be available again at the end of 2018.


Xolair

Xolair is an antibody that helps decrease allergic responses in the body. Xolair is used to treat moderate to severe asthma that is caused by allergies in adults and children who are at least 6 years old. It is not a rescue medicine for treating an asthma attack.

It is also used to treat chronic hives in adults and children who are at least 12 years old.

Xolair is usually given after other medicines have been tried without success.