What is an allergy?

An allergy is a reaction of the immune system to a specific foreign substance. The most common allergens include:

  • Pollen
  • Dust mites
  • Pet dander
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Peanuts
  • Shellfish
  • Insect bites and stings
  • Wheat 
  • Soy

What causes an allergic reaction?

When the body is exposed to an allergen, the immune system produces antibodies. While the substance may not be harmful, the immune system reacts as if it is. The reaction could be mild or life-threatening, and can inflame skin, sinuses, airways, or the digestive system, with symptoms ranging from uncomfortable to life-threatening anaphylaxis. Allergy treatments performed at Orlando ENT Associates can help you manage minor or serious allergies to improve your health and quality of life.

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What are the symptoms of an allergy?

  • Coughing
  • Runny, stuffy nose, sneezing
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Hives
  • Trouble breathing
  • Swollen lips, tongue, eyes, face
  • Vomiting, diarrhea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction, a medical emergency)

Allergy Testing at Orlando ENT Associates

Identifying an allergen requires allergy testing. The types of tests performed include:

Allergy skin tests:

These tests are performed in several ways. A skin test may involve what is termed a “scratch test,” a “puncture test,” or a “prick test.” Areas of your skin will be exposed to a drop of a specific allergen, and skin gently scratched to allow the allergen into your system. These tests are not painful. Following the test, your skin will be observed to see if your system reacts by producing a raised, itchy bump, like a bug bite. The size of the bump (called a “wheal”) will be measured and recorded.

Allergy blood tests:

An allergy blood test can be performed to identify an allergen. A blood sample is tested for immunoglobulin E, an antibody. People with allergies will have elevated levels of these antibodies. An allergy blood test can screen for a set of common allergens, such as dust, dander, pollen, mold, and some foods.

Allergy patch tests:

A patch test involves placing a specific allergen on a patch, which is applied to the arm or back. The patch is left on the body for about 48 hours to determine if the patient has a delayed reaction to the substance.

 Skin injection tests:

In these tests, a tiny quantity of an allergen is injected just beneath the skin. The injection site is monitored to watch for an allergic reaction. 

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What are allergy shots?

Allergies can be treated with a series of injections, performed periodically over several years. Called an “immunotherapy” treatment, the shots contain a very small amount of the allergen that causes the reaction. 

How do allergy shots work?

The tiny quantity of the allergen will stimulate a minor allergic reaction. Throughout the series of injections, the quantity of the allergen is increased. The body slowly becomes familiar with the allergen, called “desensitization.” The immune system, over time, begins to tolerate the allergen, with allergic reactions diminishing.

What is anaphylaxis?

Anaphylaxis is a very severe allergic reaction that requires immediate treatment. An injection with epinephrine (adrenaline) must be performed at once. The injection of epinephrine can halt the allergic reaction within a few minutes. A person who has experienced one of these reactions is far more likely to have another such event. 

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Your treatment experience at Orlando ENT Associates

If you or your child has allergies, our allergy specialists at Orlando ENT can perform tests, and establish a treatment plan that will help you find relief. Our team of otolaryngologists in Orlando can establish a customized treatment plan, so you can live a happier, healthier life.

With 3 convenient locations across the Orlando area, we’re never far away.

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