Allergies occur when the body’s immune response overreacts to a substance that is harmless to most people. The substance that triggers this immune response is called an allergen. Allergy symptoms can include runny nose, itchy eyes, itchy skin, congestion, cough, sneezing, wheezing, shortness of breath, rashes, and in the case of food allergies, nausea, and vomiting.

If you are suffering from some of those symptoms, a full medical history should be acquired at your appointment. Dr. Hartman can then determine the next steps in diagnosing your symptoms and devising a treatment plan.

Allergy Skin Testing

Allergy skin testing can be performed to test the body’s immune response. Allergy skin testing involves the use of substances that provoke an allergic response or reaction, commonly referred to as allergens. We will test you for the most common allergens in our area. These include local area tree, grass, and weed pollens, moulds, and animal dander. If food allergies are suspected, an allergy blood test will be ordered.

Allergy skin testing is completed in our office by applying a plastic applicator to your back that has allergen extracts on the tip of the apparatus. The results will be read in approximately 20 minutes and a treatment plan will be discussed. It is possible that allergy blood testing will be recommended in addition to allergy skin testing.

Treatment Options

If allergies are discovered during the skin test, treatment may include avoidance of allergens where possible, saline sinus rinses, antihistamines, nasal steroid or antihistamine sprays, and immunotherapy (allergy shots).

Immunotherapy involves receiving weekly allergy injections at the office. Allergy injections gradually train your body to not overreact to allergens, thus decreasing allergy symptoms over time. Patients typically receive weekly injections for an entire year or until Dr. Hartman determines there is a need to change the injection schedule. After the first year, Dr. Hartman will assess your allergy symptoms and decide what your treatment regimen will be at that point.

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