Johnstown & Somerset
Mon/Wed: 9:00 am to 1:15 pm
2:30 pm to 5:30 pm
Tues/Thurs: 8:00 am to 11:45 am
1:00 pm to 4:30 pm
Fri: No Injections
For updated hours, inclement weather, or schedule changes, please feel free to call the office for updates.
Johnstown Office: (814) 262-3966
Somerset Office: (814) 443-6323
Thursday, March 1, 2018
Opening at 9:00 AM
*No modified hours to report at this time*
WHAT ARE ALLERGIES?
Common allergy problems that are easily recognized are “hay fever” and asthma. Skin eruptions from food ingestion, e.g. hives from strawberries and eczema from chocolate are also commonly recognized as allergy problems. More recently, medical investigators have demonstrated that many common and puzzling ear, nose, and throat problems may be the result of chronic allergy.
Allergies are sensitivities which susceptible persons develop to normally harmless substances. The tendency to become susceptible to various things in our environment is usually inherited. Parents frequently deny any knowledge of allergy in the family history, but further questioning will usually reveal patterns of food intolerance, “sinus trouble” and other changes to suggest long-standing, although mild, allergy. If the susceptibility to allergy is inherited, then it is the amount of exposure to an offending substance (allergen) that will determine whether the individual will develop a severe illness as a result of his allergy or will only be aware of mild changes. The greater the time and/or amount of exposure, the greater the chances that a susceptible person will develop an allergy problem that will require medical treatment.
Allergens are substances that are capable of producing allergy. When an allergen enters the body, substances called antibodies are produced. The interaction of the allergen and the antibody produce an irritation on the affected tissue. The swelling of the nasal lining during hay fever season would be an example of this interaction.
Allergens may enter the body by ingestion, inhalation, injection, and by external contact with the skin. It is then apparent that foods, dust, pollens, fumes, and almost anything in the environment may cause allergic diseases. In testing for allergy, emphasis is placed on the two most important groups: food and inhalants (dust, pollen, and molds). Methods for detecting allergy to other substances are also available.
There are several ways to test for allergies: the scratch test, punch or prick test, inhalation and ingestion tests, intradermal tests and RAST (Radioallergoosorbent Test) done on the patient’s blood sample. In our office, we do titration testing using the intradermal method and the RAST method because we feel they are the most scientific and are the safest procedures available. We have multiple dilutions of our allergens that are used in testing. The intradermal test is done by injecting a minute amount of the allergen just under the skin. The resulting wheal resembles a small mosquito bite.
After about 10 minutes of observation, an increase in size generally indicates a positive reaction to that dilution. The number of tests required will depend upon a patient’s detailed history and upon the test reactions. RAST involves taking a sample of blood from the patient and using a sophisticated laboratory procedure for allergy determination. A few intradermal skin tests are then used to correlate the results and institute treatment. Several techniques are available to test for food allergy as well. All treatments will be explained in detail if you are to undergo testing. By establishing the end-point dilution, we are able to reach the level of optimum relief of allergy symptoms more rapidly. We are also able to recheck the end-point dilution when we fail to obtain optimum relief in a reasonable period of time.
Treatment of allergy is a cooperative venture with both patient and physician as participants. The goal of treatment is to produce an allergic balance so that the patient may be freed of existing allergic illness and avoid the development of new allergy problems. A basic part of management is teaching the patient to eliminate the offending allergens whenever possible. Since certain allergens cannot be eliminated, the reaction of the patient to these substances is controlled by desensitization.
Desensitization is the technique of injecting small but increasing amounts of the allergen to control the allergic reaction so that the patient has little or no reaction when exposed to the offending substance. In our office, desensitization by injection is used for inhalant allergens. Food sensitivities can be dealt with by diet control. In conjunction with desensitization, patients will be taught to avoid and eliminate allergens.
INSURANCE PLANS DO COVER ALLERGY TESTING. PLEASE CHECK WITH YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY TO SEE IF ANY OR ALL OF YOUR ALLERGY TESTING WILL BE COVERED.
You need to give the EXACT procedure code. The procedure code for allergy testing is 95027. If it is determined that you have allergies and you decide to be desensitized, the procedure codes are 95165 for the serum and 95115 for the allergy injections.
Nadine Shaffer, RN
Linda Pyo, RN
Debra S. Harris, RN
Sally Barndt, RN
Lori Zolla, RN
Marilyn Markley, RN, BSN
©2018 Ear, Nose, & Throat Associates of Johnstown