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Allergy Services

Your immune system provides an essential service to your body by defending it from foreign invaders such as harmful bacteria or viruses. But when the immune system reacts to a harmless substance, such as pollen, food or animal dander, it is known as an allergy. Allergies are one of the most common chronic diseases, affecting as many as 30 percent of adults and 40 percent of children in the United States.

An allergy can develop at any time in your life, though they tend to develop during your younger years. There are a number of factors that can cause allergies to develop, particularly your genetics and your environment. An individual with one parent who has allergies has a 50 percent higher risk of developing allergies than those without parents with allergies. If both your parents have allergies, the risk of you becoming an allergy sufferer as well increases to 70 percent.

The substances that cause your body to have an allergic reaction are known as allergens. When your body encounters these allergens, your immune system creates an antibody known as immunoglobulin E (IgE). These antibodies respond to the allergens and result in uncomfortable symptoms that interfere with your quality of life, or in some cases, are life-threatening. Mild reactions to allergens can include a runny nose, sneezing, watery eyes or a rash or hives. More severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing or swelling of the mouth and throat could be a severe reaction known as anaphylaxis, which requires immediate medical attention.

Allergies may also lead to the development of other medical conditions, including:

  • Asthma
  • Sinusitis (chronic nasal congestion)
  • Sleep disorders
  • Nasal polyps (benign growths that form in the nose or sinuses)
  • Headaches or migraines

If allergies have negatively impacted your daily activities, you should know that you can reduce or even eliminate your allergy symptoms for a healthier, happier life. At Central Care Clinic, we provide diagnostic testing for allergies as well as highly effective treatments such as immunotherapy for all ages to get you feeling better. Whatever your allergy, we pride ourselves on treating the disease itself, not just its symptoms.

Diagnostic Tests

Central Care Clinic offers both minimally-invasive skin and blood diagnostic testing to determine the source of your allergic symptoms. Each patient is assessed on an individual basis and evaluated based on their personal and family medical history, a physical exam and an assessment of the symptoms they are experiencing. Next, a skin or blood test may be performed depending on your needs to help our providers diagnose your allergy and develop a personalized treatment plan. The results of your exams will be provided on-site after your appointment is complete.

Central Care Clinic can diagnose and treat the following allergies:

  • Food
  • Pollen
  • Pet (saliva or dander)
  • Dust or mold
  • Insects (bees, stinging insects, dust mites, etc.)
  • Seasonal allergies (Hay fever)
  • Skin rashes or hives

Allergy Skin Testing

Skin testing, also known as the skin prick test (SKT), can be used to confirm a wide variety of common types of allergies. In many cases, skin testing can be the most accurate and least invasive way to confirm which allergens trigger your immune system. During a skin prick or scratch test, your provider will place a small drop of the allergen directly on your skin. Your skin will then be lightly pricked or scratched with a needle over the allergen drop. If you have an allergy to the substance, you will develop swelling, redness or itching at your test site within 15 minutes. You may also observe a small round, raised area that resembles a hive.

Allergy Blood Testing

If you cannot undergo a skin test due to a preexisting skin condition or medication, a blood test may be indicated to diagnose your allergy. Allergy blood tests are also particularly useful for diagnosing food allergies. Allergy blood tests are designed to detect and measure the number of allergen antibodies in your blood. If there is a high amount of antibodies detected or a positive result, this is usually an indication that you have an allergy to the substance. If you test negative to the allergy blood test, it usually means you do not have an allergy; however, it is possible to see negative blood results and still have an allergy to a substance, so multiple tests may be needed to confirm a diagnosis.

Treatment Options

Once we have identified the allergens that cause an allergic reaction, Central Care Clinic will design a treatment plan customized to your specific lab results. Depending on your results and needs, your course of treatment may include oral medications, injectable therapy, immunotherapy or a combination of treatments if necessary.

Injectable Therapy

Injectable therapy for allergies involves the use of corticosteroids, a type of steroid hormone that is administered in the form of a long-lasting injection. The steroids work by suppressing inflammation in the body caused by an overly reactive immune system. Injectable therapy is typically recommended when other treatment options have not provided any relief to your symptoms, and your symptoms are interfering with your daily activities. Unlike immunotherapy, or allergy shots, injectable therapy for allergies does not involve injecting allergens into the body.

Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy, otherwise known as allergy shots, involve the injection of allergens into the body with a dose that increases over time. Gradually, you will become progressively less sensitive to that allergen and reduce or completely eliminate allergy symptoms. Immunotherapy is typically most effective for those with allergies to pollen, pets, bees or other stinging insects, dust or those who have asthma. On the other hand, those who have allergies to food, medicine or who have hives or eczema do not experience as much success with immunotherapy. Dr. John Cuong Doan can recommend whether immunotherapy is right for you during your initial assessment. One course of immunotherapy can lessen as much as 90 percent of your symptoms, including hay fever, within a five year period.

If the unpleasant symptoms of allergies are interfering with your quality of life, our providers are here to help diagnose and address your concerns so you can get back to the activities you love. To learn more about the allergy services we offer, contact the office of Central Care Clinic today at 704 567 8218 to schedule your appointment, and start experiencing relief.