Problems requiring allergy testing can be quite chronic in nature, can affect the quality of life, and can lead to a decreased sense of energy. The history of the person's allergy symptoms is important in diagnosing allergic rhinitis,
including whether the symptoms vary according to time of day or the season; exposure
to pets or other allergens; and diet changes. Allergy testing may reveal the specific allergens the person
is reacting to. Skin testing is the most common method of allergy testing. This may include intradermal,
scratch, patch, or other tests. Less commonly, the suspected allergen is dissolved and
dropped onto the lower eyelid as a means of testing for allergies. (This test should
only be done by a physician, never the patient, since it can be harmful if done improperly.) Contact Dr. Portuese today for more information on allergy testing.
The most appropriate medication depends on the type and severity of symptoms. Specific illnesses that are caused by allergies (such as asthma and eczema) may require other treatments. Allergy testing may yield several options.
Options for allergy testing include the following:
Short-acting antihistamines , which are generally over-the-counter (non-prescription), often relieve mild to moderate symptoms, but can cause drowsiness. A pediatrician should be consulted before using these medicines in children, as they may affect learning. One formerly prescription medication, loratadine, is now available over the counter in many countries. It does not tend to cause drowsiness or affect learning in children. Azelastin hydrocholoride is the only antihistamine available as a nasal spray.
Longer-acting antihistamines cause less drowsiness, can be equally effective, and usually do not interfere with learning. These medications include fexofenadine, and cetirizine.
Corticosteroid nasal sprays are effective and somewhat safe, and may be effective without oral antihistamines. These medications include fluticasone (Flonase/Flixonase), budesonide, mometasone, triamcinolone and beclomethasone.
Topical decongestants may also be helpful in reducing symptoms such as nasal congestion, but should not be used for long periods as stopping them after protracted use can lead to a rebound nasal congestion ( Rhiitis medicamentosa ).
Cromolyn sodium is available as a nasal spray for treating hay fever. Eye drop versions of cromolyn sodium are available for allergic conjunctivitis .
"Allergy shots" ( Hyposensibilization , immunotherapy ) are occasionally recommended if the allergen cannot be avoided and if symptoms are hard to control. This includes regular injections of the allergen, given in increasing doses (each dose is slightly larger than the previous dose) that may help the body adjust to the antigen. These tend to be offered as a last resort as the therapy is more expensive and can increase the risk of triggering a secondary allergic reaction such as an asthma attack.
Call Dr. Portuese at (206) 624-6200 for more information about allergy testing in Seattle today.