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Do You Suffer From the Following?
- Itchy Nose, Eyes, Skin, and Mouth
- Conjunctivitis (Swollen and Watery Eyes)
- Sore Throat and Coughing
- Runny Nose
- Postnasal Drip
Overview of Allergy Testing
Although allergies are frustrating and, in some cases, difficult to find the cause of, allergy testing itself is a well-understood science. Dr. Mandel and his team at South Florida Sinus and Allergy Center have perfected that science. His proprietary modification of traditional allergy tests allows him to identify allergens and distinguish severity with minimal discomfort to patients.
While traditional allergy testing involves 100 or more uncomfortable skin pricks, Dr. Mandel has pioneered a method that requires fewer sticks while testing for more potential allergens. This process is a unique combination of skin pricks and intradermal testing, which leads to a more accurate diagnosis of both the type and severity of your allergies.
Subcutaneous Immunotherapy (SCIT)
Subcutaneous immunotherapy is a system of allergy shots administered over a period of two to three years. It helps reduce or, in many cases, eliminate allergy symptoms altogether. Within each shot is a small amount of a particular allergen, enough to desensitize your body to the allergen without causing an allergic reaction. Over the course of your treatment, Dr. Mandel increases the concentration of the allergens, allowing your immune system to build up a tolerance, resulting in long-term relief from allergies.
Other Types of Allergy Testing
While the vast majority of patients at South Florida Sinus and Allergy Center are able to be tested with Dr. Mandel’s proprietary method, some cases may call for additional testing. This is rare, but can include tests like:
Also known as immunoassay testing, blood tests are an alternative to skin pricks. Factors like medication, skin conditions, or fear of an extreme allergic reaction may make you unable to take a skin prick test. If this is the case, then blood tests are incredibly useful for uncovering allergens and determining the severity of already-known allergies.
Immunoassay testing measures the levels of immunoglobulin E (IgE) in the blood. This is a type of antibody that signals an allergy to a substance. There are two types of blood tests – enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and radioallergosorbent (RAST).
Patch tests are a type of allergy testing that measures something called type IV hypersensitivity. This is a different type of allergic reaction than, say, that produced by pollen, pet dander, food, and the like. Those are known as immediate or type I hypersensitivity. Type IV hypersensitivity is often called allergic contact dermatitis and is caused by things like:
- Local Anesthetics – Lidocaine, Benzocaine, Procaine, etc.
- Poison Ivy and Oak
Symptoms from type 4 hypersensitivity usually take days to develop. This makes them untestable via traditional methods (skin prick, challenge tests, etc.). It’s important to stop here and note that a positive reaction to a patch test causes dermatitis, which then needs to be treated.
Patch tests are performed by placing small amounts of potential allergens in a patch. The patches are then attached to your back. They’re left on for 24 hours, removed, and your skin is checked for an allergic reaction. You’re then checked multiple times over the following several days.
Lung Function Tests
Lung function tests are a series of four specific tests that help determine whether a patient is suffering from asthma. Made up of spirometry, peak airflow, FeNO, and provocation, these tests are limited to diagnosing asthma and don’t help with other types of allergic reactions.
Spirometry is the most often used lung function test. It’s performed by blowing into a mouthpiece connected to a specialized device called a spirometer. You’ll likely repeat this process several times to ensure accuracy. Spirometry can also be used to diagnose COPD, pulmonary fibrosis, and cystic fibrosis.
Other Types of Immunotherapy
Just like there are multiple kinds of allergy testing, there are also different forms of immunotherapy. While allergy shots are effective in the vast majority of cases, it’s still smart to know all your options. These include sublingual immunotherapy and oral mucosal immunotherapy.
Sublingual Immunotherapy (SLIT)
Sublingual immunotherapy is a type of allergy treatment that works in a similar way to subcutaneous therapy. They differ when it comes to delivery method. While subcutaneous immunotherapy introduces allergens to your body in the form of a shot, SLIT introduces them via the mucous membranes under the tongue.
Sublingual immunotherapy comes in tablets or specially formulated allergy drops. Regardless of the specific form, the medicine contains tiny amounts of one particular allergen. You hold it under your tongue for a few minutes, then swallow. This gradually builds up your immune system’s tolerance, resulting in decreased symptoms.
It’s important to stop and note that although sublingual immunotherapy is as effective as subcutaneous immunotherapy, it’s only able to be used on one allergen at a time. We don’t offer SLIT at South Florida Sinus and Allergy Center, but rather offer something called OMIT.
Oral Mucosal Immunotherapy (OMIT)
Oral mucosal immunotherapy operates on the same principle as SCIT and SLIT. It’s a way to get lasting relief from the symptoms of allergic rhinitis. The difference between OMIT and other forms of immunotherapy, though, is that OMIT is delivered via a specially made toothpaste.
Breathe Easier with South Florida Sinus and Allergy Center
Now that you know a bit more about the allergy testing process – as well as the innovative treatment options available we offer at South Florida Sinus and Allergy Center – it’s time to learn more about who we are.
South Florida Sinus and Allergy Center is led by Dr. Lee Mandel. With almost three decades of experience, Dr. Mandel has helped thousands of patients breathe easier. He’s double Board Certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology and the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, and he is one of the only rhinologists in South Florida. Perhaps more importantly, he’s recognized as an international pioneer of effective allergy treatments.
Behind Dr. Mandel is an entire team of talented specialists. From physician assistants to L.P.N.s and R.M.A.s, to radiology technologists and beyond, South Florida Sinus and Allergy Center is proud to say we have one of the most experienced teams in the world.
We have two convenient locations in Fort Lauderdale and Plantation, a state-certified Level III surgical suite, and the most advanced technology available. We create individualized treatment plans based on your unique symptoms and allergy relief goals. All of our procedures are minimally invasive and designed to be as comfortable and effective as possible.
Call us at (954) 983-1211 to request an allergy testing or immunotherapy appointment today!
Book an appointment online!