Identify the Actual Underlying Cause of Your Sinus Condition
Chronic sinus infections can be a symptom of allergies. If you do not test your allergies, the issue may worsen and lead to symptoms like congestion, inflammation, coughing, and shortness of breath. This is why it’s vital to be tested and have an ENT examination to understand your unique allergy profile. Then, a treatment plan for complementary care solutions can be developed to improve quality-of-life issues related to chronic sinus conditions.
You Have a Unique Allergy Profile
All individual allergy profiles are unique. Symptoms may seem similar amongst sufferers, but each person’s allergies respond differently with their bodies. This is why it is essential to consult with an ENT professional to understand your allergies and develop a treatment plan specifically tailored for you.
What Is Allergy Testing?
What is allergy testing? Allergy testing involves assessing your body for a reaction to specific allergens. There are two types of allergy tests; skin prick and blood:
Skin Prick Testing
Skin pricking on the arm is a quick way to identify your reaction to some of the most common allergens in familiar places like home, the office, or outdoors. These allergens include dust mites, pet dander, and pollen. The test is administered without pain but can be adapted based on age or comfort level if necessary. Modern skin pricks are like fingernail scratches that do not penetrate the skin nor cause bleeding. Skin prick tests are safe and have been around for over 100 years.
- To begin, the skin is cleaned with alcohol to ensure all foreign substances are removed. Then, tiny marks are drawn around the prick target areas.
- The skin is then pricked, and a solution containing a small amount of the allergen is introduced.
- Finally, two final control pricks for comparison purposes are performed, one containing saline and another containing histamine (which should cause a small allergic reaction).
The reaction's degree is measured based on how your skin reacts to each allergen. For example, if you are allergic to one of the pricks, you might see a slight bump known as a "wheal." The wheal may also have surrounding redness called a "flare." By comparing these reactions with saline and histamine reactions, we examine which allergens your body is reacting to and their severity.
This test is highly accurate. As a result, we can learn about your allergies and put together plans specific for every individual.
Intradermal Skin Testing
During a regular skin test, specific allergens will not react on the skin's surface. Instead, these substances need to be introduced just below the skin's surface to get a response from the body. This is where the intradermal skin test comes into play. During an intradermal skin test, a small needle will inject a trace amount of the specific allergen resulting in a short period of mild discomfort. Some allergens that may require an intradermal skin test include:
- Penicillin and other medication allergies
- Insect venom (Wasps, Hornets, Bees, etc.)
Like a regular skin test, this test is perfectly safe and is done with close monitoring to ensure safety and maximize comfort.
Blood Testing for Allergies
The best testing for you is the one that fits your medical history, health conditions, and allergy issues. Blood testing is not used as often as a skin test, but it can be necessary for specific situations. The following reasons may necessitate the use of blood testing:
- Your medication reacts with the skin itself- some of your current medications might cause an inaccurate result on a given day if their effects are shown at high concentrations during this time. Sometimes, your physician will be able to temporarily pause your medication to perform the test. The clinical team at SoCal Breathe Fee can use blood sample data or lab values from urine samples collected before taking any particular substance.
- If you have certain conditions involving psoriasis or eczema, making it difficult to get an accurate skin-test result.
- You experience unusual allergic reactions, another option would be to test them via blood rather than through traditional means such as open-air tests.
We will work with your entire medical team and medical history to ensure that your allergy test is safe and accurate.
The Risks of Testing and Treatment Outside of Your ENT’s Office
Allergy testing results are only as good as the facility performing the test. Now that allergies have become more popular, many people are entering the allergy testing business. However, with so many factors involved in comprehensive testing for allergies – it is vital to go to a board-certified professional who offers high-quality tests. Others may offer just one type of test and send you on your way, leaving all other aspects of your health issues unresolved. At SoCal Breathe Free Sinus Allergy Center, we put our decades of experience into practice by providing comprehensive assessments like no other center can offer. Your treatment plan may include any of the following:
Depending on the severity and your overall goals, over-the-counter or prescription medications may be used. These will not treat your allergies, but they may help control the symptoms.
Sinus issues that worsen allergy symptoms usually negatively affect allergy sufferers. These range from sinus infections to sleep disruption to other problems that affect the ear, nose, or throat. The safe, affordable, and non-invasive treatment options for your medical needs go hand-in-hand to complete a comprehensive solution.
SoCal Breathe Free can help you understand how your allergies, sinuses, or other medical conditions work together. Our customized treatment plans tailored to your needs and health history will give you the best care possible.
Allergy Immunotherapy (Allergy Shots or Drops)
Immunotherapy should be something you consider if you want to treat your allergies in the long term rather than just controlling symptoms. During immunotherapy, your body is introduced to a little of your allergen over a long period to “retrain” your body to identify it as harmless.
This is the only form of medical management that treats your allergies rather than controlling symptoms.