An allergy occurs when antibodies perceive an external or internal substance as a threat and initiate a localized or systemic attack on that substance. Depending on the particular allergy, the body’s response may range from mild to life-threatening. Colorado Springs allergy doctors regularly diagnose and treat patients for a wide range of allergies.
Examination, Evaluation And Testing
During an initial visit, asthma and allergy doctors will perform a physical examination in addition to obtaining a medical history. The medical history includes compiling information related to the symptoms that patients experience. To verify a specific allergy, or if the allergen is unknown, allergy doctors commonly perform tests before discussing treatment options.
Scratch Test – After cleansing the skin on the upper back or forearm with alcohol, a healthcare practitioner applies extract containing the allergen to the skin. This area is then lightly pricked to expose the immune system to the antigen.
Intradermal Test – When this is necessary, a diluted form of the allergen is injected just beneath the skin. The scratch and intradermal tests typically produce results in a matter of minutes.
Patch Test – For contact allergies, such as nickel, patch testing entails applying a transdermal patch, which contains a small sample of the suspected allergen. After 72 hours, a healthcare practitioner then evaluates the site for a possible allergic reaction.
Blood Tests – Once a food allergy has been confirmed by skin testing, a blood test can be done to obtain a level to follow over time which can help doctors know when someone is highly likely to have outgrown a food allergy.
Treatments s to help control allergy symptoms due to environmental exposures (or nonallergic irritant reactions) include over-the-counter or prescription medications. These medications may involve antihistamines, decongestants, topical or intranasal steroids or mast cell stabilizers in the form of topical creams, lotions or ointments, oral medications, nasal sprays or eye drops. For some, a series of allergy shots helps desensitize the immune system to specific allergens. Practitioners may recommend certain lifestyle changes to decrease exposures that may also be triggering these symptoms. Especially in the event of food allergies, physicians may prescribe emergency medications in the form of epinephrine autoinjectors. The kit generally contains two pre-filled syringes that deliver a dose of epinephrine.
There is no need for someone to suffer with unpleasant or possibly serious symptoms when the providers at Asthma & Allergy Associates, PC (AACOS) have a solution. As board-certified allergy specialists in the field, the physicians at AACOS welcome patients of all ages. Contact us at 719-473-0872 or toll free at 800-533-3900 for more information or to make an appointment.