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.

 

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 all of our South Louisiana locations to identify their allergy triggers and manage their symptoms. For expert allergy testing and treatment, call the nearest office to book an appointment.

Allergy Testing and 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 specialist 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 MQT, the doctors may prick your skin and administer a tiny drop of a suspected allergen. 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. The results of skin testing are read right at the office. We also offer RAST testing for:

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

When should you get allergy test?

Allergies are very common, affecting more than 50 million people in the United States. Many people could, therefore, benefit from allergy testing to get proper treatment.

Allergies can affect the whole body. Key symptoms to watch out for include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Asthma
  • Eczema
  • Hives
  • Itchy eyes
  • Nasal congestion

What is a RAST test?

The RAST test is a blood test that is used to see if your blood contains antibodies for a specific substance, such as peanuts or pollen. These antibodies are called immunoglobulin E, or IgE antibodies.

If your blood contains IgE antibodies that are specific to a certain substance, it means that you are allergic to that substance. These antibodies cause the rashes, itching, sneezing, and other symptoms that you experiences when you come into contact with an allergen.

The name RAST was originally a brand name, but experts say it is now commonly and incorrectly used to describe any lab test for allergens.

According to the Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Food Allergy in the United States, the original RAST test method is now outdated. Instead of RAST tests, a doctor is more likely to order a different blood test called ELISA, which stands for enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.

What can RAST test for?

Blood tests like RAST can test for a range of allergies, including food allergies, drug allergies, seasonal allergies, and pet allergies.

Along with diagnosing current allergies, blood tests can be used as part of the testing and treatment process that doctors use to test the progress of allergies in young children.

The presence and changes of IgE antibodies in the blood help a doctor to determine the progression of allergies, what allergy professionals call the ‘allergic march,’ that starts in infancy and progresses through childhood. Doctors tended to avoid skin tests for infants, however. Researchers suggest that using blood testing procedures to diagnose allergies early in a person’s life can provide the following benefits:

  • The ability to start allergy intervention treatment earlier
  • Avoidance of dangerous reactions to food allergens in infants
  • The potential to prevent the development of asthma
  • A reduction in outbreaks of eczema

RAST test procedure

The RAST test procedure is fairly straightforward and does not require any preparation. After you speak to your doctor, a medical professional will take a blood sample, usually from your arm. This blood is then sent to our in-house laboratory, where it is subjected to a battery of tests that look for antibodies that have developed in response to specific allergens.

How Allergies Treated?

Voidance 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, they decreasing your allergic reactions.