These are just a few of the symptoms of both allergies and asthma. If you or your children suffer from allergies, asthma, hay fever, sinusitis, rashes, hives, or reactions to foods, insect stings, or drugs, we can help. At Cayuga ENT, specialists who will listen to you assure you of a complete allergy evaluation. If something is confusing, we will carefully explain it, in language you can understand. We emphasize patient education because we realize there is a lot of confusion about allergies, and how they can be treated.
Allergy Testing and Immunotherapy
Allergy testing has come a long way. We primarily use the Multitest II allergy skin testing system. This is a quick, safe, and reliable method to perform skin testing with minimal discomfort on both children and adults. We offer both subcutaneous injection immunotherapy and sublingual immunotherapy. The latter can be given in the comfort of your own home. The doctors and trained staff will help you determine what is best for the treatment of your allergies.
In the technique of SubLingual ImmunoTherapy (SLIT) the allergen is placed under the tongue and absorbed through the oral mucosa. Thus, there is no need for weekly injections and the therapy can be performed at home.
There are 3 skin testing techniques and one blood test to test a patient for allergies:
1.Intradermal Dilution Testing (IDT) – IDT is the gold standard for allergy testing for Otolaryngic allergists. We primarily use this technique when we need to perform confirmatory testing after a person has had either prick testing or RAST testing.
2.Prick skin testing – This is the most common form of allergy testing that we perform on patients. By utilizing the Multitest II (www.lincolndiagnostics.com) allergy skin testing system, we are able to test for many allergens quickly and safely with minimal discomfort on both children and adults. The Multitest II is an applicator with 8 little prongs. At the tip of each prong are a number of very fine points. The prongs are dipped into wells of specific antigens. It is then pressed onto the skin. The points prick the skin. By using multiple applicators we are able to test for many allergens quickly. This gives us similar responses as IDT testing but is not quite as accurate.
3.RAST testing – This is the only blood test for allergies. In RAST testing the blood is tested for IgE antibodies to specific allergens. It is a useful technique for children who will not tolerate skin testing, in patients with dermatographia whose skin responds more than it should, in patients on medications such as beta blockers on whom we cannot perform allergy testing, for food and bee testing when a patient has already had an anaphylactic reaction and skin testing would be too dangerous, and to compare to a patients skin testing when we are unsure about the skin testing results.
A Final Word on Allergy Testing
The important thing to remember about allergy testing, no matter what type is performed, is that it is a guide to a patient’s allergies. We cannot test for every conceivable allergy a patient might have. We test for seasonal, perennial and food allergies. We can customize the testing if we know a patient is getting exposed to a specific allergen, such as horses or cows. With these results we are able to better determine the best medical management for the patient’s allergies and teach a patient how to avoid the allergens.