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Allergy Testing and Treatment

What are allergies?

An allergy is an abnormal reaction to something that normally shouldn't cause any reaction. When that happens, the substance we are reacting to is called an allergen.

In most people, the body's immune system recognizes allergens as harmless, and deals with them without us even being aware of them. But in the allergic person, something goes wrong. The immune system malfunctions and over reacts to the allergen as if it is dangerous to the body. That reaction results in the symptoms we associate with allergies.

What are the most common allergies?

  • Tree pollens
  • Weed pollens
  • Grass pollens
  • Foods
  • Molds
  • House dust
  • Animal hair & dander
  • Insect stings & bites
  • Chemicals - including drugs
  • Dyes & cosmetics
  • Certain plant oleoresins

What are the symptoms of allergies?

  • Sneezing
  • Watery / itchy eyes
  • Cold symptoms that won't go away
  • Skin rashes
  • Some types of asthma
  • Headaches
  • Persistent cough
  • Vomiting
  • Recurring ear infections

Allergy Skin Testing

Skin testing is a method of testing for allergic antibodies. Testing consists of introducing small amounts of suspected substances, or allergens, into the skin and noting the development of a reaction. A positive reaction is noted when the allergen placed on the skin causes swelling and redness.

The results are read 15 to 20 minutes after the application of the allergen. Interpretation of skin tests requires the allergist's skill in matching the test results with the patient history of allergy-like symptoms. Just because a skin test with a particular substance is positive does not necessarily mean that substance is causing the symptoms.

Click here for more information on skin testing.

Allergy Treatment

Aviodance - You can avoid or reduce your exposure to the things that may trigger your allergy symptoms.

If you can not avoid the allergens that are causing your symptoms, over-the-counter and prescription medications can help control allergy symptoms. Today's allergy medications are better than ever. An allergist can help you decide which medications are best for you.

Antihistamines / Decongestants - Available both over-the-counter and by prescription, antihistamines relieve or prevent allergy symptoms by blocking the activity of histamine that is produced by the body during an allergic reaction. Antihistamines come as capsules, tablets, liquids, and nose sprays.

Anti-Inflammatory Medications - Inhaled medications, topical or corticosteroids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication.

Allergy Immunotherapy

Allergy shots, also known as immunotherapy, can actually keep your body from reacting to allergens, reducing and often even eliminating the need for medication.

The shots decrease a patient's sensitivity to specified allergens by injecting gradually increasing doses of purified "extracts" of the substance that trigger the allergic reaction. The injections stimulate the immune system to fight allergies safely, effectively and naturally.

You should consider allergy immunotherapy if you:

  • Are unable to avoid specific allergens
  • Have allergies for long periods of time throughout the year
  • Frequently miss work or school because of allergies
  • Get inadequate relief from medications or experience troublesome side effects, or don't wish to rely on constant medications
If you have already signed our immunotherapy consent form and are waiting to be contacted to start shots click here for information explaining the extract mixing process.

The Allergy Center at Brookstone offers and maintains this website to provide information of a general nature about the conditions requiring the services of an Allergist. The information is provided with the understanding that we are not engaged in rendering surgical or medical advice or recommendations. Any information in the publications, messages, posting, or articles on this website should not be considered a substitute for consultation with a Board Certified Allergist to address individual medical needs. Individual facts and circumstances will determine the treatment that is most appropriate.