Allergy Testing and Treatment in Syracuse & Rochester, NY

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What Are Allergies?

Allergies are caused by your own immune system overreacting to harmless substance (allergen) surrounding you. Our immune system is designed to detect harmful virus or bacteria and initiate defense mechanisms, but sometimes, it decides to mount defense mechanisms against common allergen, like tree pollen or pet dander. Once that happens, every time you encounter tree pollen or pet dander, your body will initiate an IgE-mediated defense mechanism, which involves symptoms like swelling, redness, itchiness, and/or mucus secretion of the nose, throat, sinuses, ear, lungs, skin, or the gut system. In the worst case, swelling of the throat or the airway can result in a life-threatening situation.

Common Types of Allergy

The two most common types of allergen we see in our office are animal allergies and food allergies.

  • Animal Allergy Treatments - It is estimated that more than 160 million people are allergic to pet dander, including pet hair, skin flakes, saliva, urine and the pollen or dust that can get trapped in the fur of a cat or dog.
  • Food Allergies Treatments – Food allergies or food intolerances affect most people on some level during the duration of your life. The most common foods people are allergic to include milk, eggs, peanuts, soy, wheat, tree nuts and shellfish.

About Allergy Testing

There are three ways of testing for allergies. The blood test (RAST) involves obtaining a sample of blood, which will then be examined for blood markers that correspond to specific allergen. RAST is typically ordered if a patient is not suitable for skin allergy test. There are two types of skin tests. There is the Prick Test and SET (serial endpoint titration). Our office uses both. Skin tests are considered a more common and reliable way of testing for allergies. In skin “prick” tests, a small amount of allergen is pricked into your skin. This is a superficial prick, not a painful needle-stick like in a flu-shot. The SET is a small injection of allergen under the skin. Patients tolerate both types of testing very well. After about 15 to 20 minutes, your skin is examined to determine how much swelling or wheal has formed in reaction to the specific allergen. Because this test relies on your body’s reaction to an allergen, you should not take certain allergy medications a few days before the scheduled test. Our office will send you the information a few days prior to the scheduled tests.

How Can I Limit My Exposure to Allergens?

Knowing what you are allergic to can help you plan accordingly. You may be able to avoid exposing yourself to certain allergen or reduce the load of exposure through certain strategies, including: Washing your pet twice a week Changing air filters regularly Changing your bedsheets frequently Using hypoallergenic bedding sheets Rinsing the sinuses frequently Avoiding outside activities during high pollen days You can also use over-the-counter or prescription medications for seasonal allergy treatments, which typically work by reducing your body’s inflammatory response caused by the allergen. They come in either pill form, or directly to the problematic sites as nasal spray or eye drops. Some of the most common medications include: Steroids Antihistamines Anti-inflammatory agents

What Allergy Treatment Options are Available (immunotherapy)?

Unlike most allergy medication that reduces the symptoms caused by allergy, immunotherapy works at the root of problem by re-training your immune system. Remember that allergy is caused by your own immune system overreacting to harmless substance (allergen) surrounding you. Immunotherapy works by gradually increasing the dose of what your body is allergic to, and de-sensitize your immune system against the harmless allergen.

Immunotherapy is tailored specifically for each patient based on what he or she is allergic too. Therefore, it is advised that the patient go through a recent allergy test, which will help determine the allergen or multiple allergens to target after. Immunotherapy can be planned as an allergy shot, which requires a weekly visit to the clinic, or in the form of an allergy pill or droplet (sublingual therapy), which patients can administer at home. We can also assist in the treatment for skin allergy, should your symptoms result in a rash or hives.

How is Allergy Testing Performed?

Understanding your allergies begins with accurate testing. Natural Face Clinic offers three main types to pinpoint the issue. The first, known as the blood test or RAST, suits individuals who can't have skin tests. It analyzes specific allergen markers in a blood sample. We offer the Prick Test and serial endpoint titration (SET) for those who can have skin tests. Unlike a flu shot, the Prick Test is a painless, superficial procedure, while the SET involves a small allergen injection under the skin. Both are well-tolerated. To ensure accuracy, avoid specific allergy medications a few days before your test, and we'll send over all the necessary details to help you prepare.

Upon identifying your allergens, the next step is to strategize how to reduce your exposure to them. This could mean washing your pet more frequently, changing your air filters and bed sheets regularly, or opting for hypoallergenic bedding. It's also good to rinse your sinuses regularly and stay indoors on days with high pollen levels to prevent symptoms. Additionally, various medications are available to mitigate your body's inflammatory responses to allergens, including steroids, antihistamines, and anti-inflammatory agents, which come in different forms like pills, nasal sprays, or eye drops.

Allergy treatment options provided by Dr. Kim include immunotherapy, a personalized approach that gradually reduces your immune system's reactivity to allergens through controlled exposure. To ensure precise targeting of allergens, recent allergy test results are crucial for guiding your immunotherapy. Our clinic offers flexible treatment formats to fit your lifestyle, such as weekly clinic visits for allergy shots or convenient at-home options like pills and sublingual droplets. Whether your symptoms are respiratory issues or skin reactions like rashes and hives, we're dedicated to helping you.

We Offer Relief From Allergies

The specialized team at Natural Face Clinic takes a comprehensive approach to diagnosing and treating seasonal allergies. Dr. Kim and his team know that allergies can be difficult and even dangerous to live with. Contact our Syracuse, NY office to learn more and schedule allergy testing.

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