Are You Experiencing Constant Coughing, Sneezing, & Dry Eyes?
Allergy Testing & Treatment
It’s no secret that part of living in Central Pennsylvania includes dealing with inhalant allergies for many people. Our allergy department provides experienced, safe and reliable allergy testing and immunotherapy (allergy shots) on site. Dr Vanderark and Dr. Witt can provide a broad spectrum of services including medical therapy and a range of minimally invasive procedures to help control your symptoms.
As experienced allergists, the ENT Surgery Group team is passionate about alleviating symptoms and boosting our patient’s enjoyment of life, whatever impurities are in the air.
What Are Allergies?
Allergies are due to your immune system responding to something foreign. Your immune system attacks anything it perceives as a threat, including allergens. Allergens may be tree pollen, grass, or animal dander. When you inhale these allergens, your immune system reacts because it thinks that these allergens are harmful to you. Although harmless, your immune system can overreact. This overreaction is what causes allergy symptoms. Symptoms include congestion, runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes and throat, headaches, postnasal drip and more.
Symptoms may be year round or seasonal (occurring during Spring, Summer, Fall, etc). Year round allergies may be due to dust mites, animal dander, and more. Common causes of seasonal allergies include different grasses, trees, and weeds.
What Is Allergy Testing?
Allergy testing is done to determine which allergens your immune system is reacting to. The test will be able to show which allergens vou are reacting to and how sensitive you are to them. The first portion of allergy testing is done via skin prick testing. The surface of the skin is scratched (the skin is not actually broken) and a small amount of liquid antigen is simultaneously applied.
This portion of the test acts like a screening for which allergens you are allergic to. Based on the positive results, further testing is done via intradermal testing. Intradermal testing uses a small needle to place a small amount of the liquid antigen under the surface of your skin.
These are not actual injections and are the same method used in tuberculosis (TB) testing. The results are recorded and will be discussed with you at a follow up appointment with the physician, At ENT Surgery Group, we test for the most common inhalant allergens in the area including a variety of grasses, weeds, trees, cat, dog, dust mites, and molds.
Please call the front desk to schedule a consultation with the physician if you are interested in allergy testing. The physician will perform an exam, discuss your symptoms, and order the allergy test, if appropriate. The entire allergy testing process takes about 90-120 minutes.
How Do We Treat Allergies?
Individual allergy treatment plans can and will be discussed with the physician who orders your allergy tests. However, common treatments include a combination of medications and avoiding the allergens. We also offer subcutaneous immunotherapy and sublingual therapy.
Subcutaneous Immunotherapy Injections
Commonly referred to as allergy shots, this treatment involves injecting the antigens into your subcutaneous (fat) tissue in your arms. These injections, slowly and safely, expose your immune system to the allergen.
Through this exposure, you will be desensitized to the allergen. Desensitization means that your immune system will begin to recognize the antigen as a non-threat and no longer overreact to the allergen, which will reduce your allergy symptoms. This is not a curative treatment, but the goal is to reduce overall symptoms.
Allergy injections are a three to five year commitment and require weekly appointments throughout the first few phases. Eventually, injections can be given at monthly intervals.
Sublingual Immunotherapy (SLIT)
SLIT therapy has similar goals when compared to the allergy shots. However, SLIT therapy is done by applying drops of the antigen under your tongue daily. Applying drops under your tongue will also safely desensitize your system to the allergen, reducing overall symptoms.
SLIT therapy can be done at home. Advantages to this therapy include being able to apply drops at home, no weekly appointments, and no injections are required. However, they are not covered by insurance. Please call for further details regarding SLIT pricing.