Allergy Testing & Treatments

Southern ENT Associates -  - Ear, Nose & Throat Doctor

Southern ENT Associates

Ear, Nose & Throat Doctors located in Thibodaux, Houma, Raceland, Morgan City, New Iberia, Youngsville, and Opelousas, LA

When your immune system has an exaggerated response to a foreign substance, such as pollution or pollen, you end up with allergies. The experienced providers at Southern ENT Associates care for men, women, and children at their multiple locations in South Louisiana to identify their allergy triggers and manage their symptoms. For expert allergy testing and treatment, call the nearest of the six offices or book an appointment online.

Allergy Testing & Treatments Q & A

What are the Symptoms of Allergies?

Respiratory allergy symptoms can often make you feel like you have a permanent cold. Signs that you could have allergies include:

  • Stuffy or a runny nose
  • Dry, persistent cough
  • Sneezing
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath

A headache and fatigue may accompany any combination of these respiratory symptoms, too. Other symptoms include rashes, hives, and itching or swelling of the mouth, nose, or throat. Some allergic reactions can be life-threatening.

What Causes Allergies?

Allergies occur when your immune system goes haywire and reacts to substances that usually aren’t an irritant, including pollen, mold, animal dander, house dust, or foods.

Seasonal allergies are those that occur when certain trees or flowers are pollinating, grasses are growing, or weeds are proliferating. You may have seasonal allergies just in the spring, summer, or fall. These seasonal types of allergies are known as grass fever, summer colds, or hay fever -- but the terms all describe the same condition.

Allergies to dust mites or animal dander can persist year-round, as do allergies to foods, drugs, and insect stings.

How Do You Test for Allergies?

The allergy specialists at Southern ENT Associates test for allergies with skin tests and blood tests. They have specific training in the best method for testing and treating your allergies, depending on your symptoms.

Skin tests involve one of two methods, and many different allergens receive treatment at the same appointment. With scratch tests, the doctors may prick your skin and administer a tiny drop of a suspected allergen. Or the allergen may be injected just under your skin, often on your arm. If you develop swelling, redness, or other reactions at the test site, it means you’re allergic to that substance.

The doctors at Southern ENT Associates may recommend a blood test if you’re on a medication that might interfere with skin test results, if you have a severe skin condition, or if skin testing could bring about a severe reaction.

While the results of skin testing are read right at the office, a medical lab must diagnose the blood test, so it may take several days to get the results. Blood tests can check for allergies to many irritants, including:

  • Dust mites
  • Insect stings
  • Molds
  • Pollen
  • Animal dandruff
  • Medicines
  • Foods

How are Allergies Treated?

Avoidance of all triggers is the best way to control your allergies, but it’s not practical. The doctors may recommend over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants for mild symptoms.

Allergy shots or allergy drops under the tongue are the most specific and effective treatment available. Over a treatment period of typically three to five years, they slowly desensitize your body to the allergens, thus decreasing your allergic reactions.