Frequently Asked Questions
Why do I have to stop my anti-histamines?
When skin prick testing (SPT) is used to help diagnose allergies the process is blocked by the use of anti-histamines & medications with anti-histaminic properties. That means your testing would reveal false negative results. Many anti-histamines can be cleared from the body within 3 days but some can take up to 7 days. On average, stopping your anti-histamines for 5 days is long enough to allow the testing to be accurate.
Does skin prick testing hurt?
Skin prick testing (SPT) has become less uncomfortable over the years. We currently use a plastic device that looks like a toothpick to scratch the skin with allergens. In children we use a multi-pronged device that requires only one actual prick for every 8 allergens we are testing for. The testing occurs quickly and involves no needles or blood. Most testing is well tolerated by even young children. Results are available within 15 minutes. It is best to bring something to occupy your child during the testing like a book or DVD player or tablet so they will not touch or scratch their back once the testing has been placed.
Why do some people receive blood testing for the diagnosis of allergies?
Blood testing for allergens is commonly known as a RAST (radioallergosorbent test) or Immunocap test. This testing is appropriate in some circumstances where the specific antigens are not available in a skin testing format or in patients in whom skin testing is not safe (certain drugs or medical conditions). In general, skin prick testing is the ‘gold standard’ in diagnosing allergies and has the greatest accuracy.
Does everyone with allergies need allergy injections?
Allergy injection therapy also known as immunotherapy is the only treatment for allergies which offers a long-term benefit for people’s symptoms. In some patients this is a ‘cure’ for their disease. This therapy changes the way a person’s immune system deals with allergens in a beneficial way, becoming less reactive to them over time. While allergy shots are generally safe, you should consider the risks and benefits of this therapy and discuss them with the doctor to see if this is the right treatment plan for you.
Why doesn’t your office offer allergy treatment under the tongue – known as sub-lingual immunotherapy (SLIT)?
SLIT has been studied for nearly a decade now is known to be effective in symptom reduction for certain allergies. Unfortunately, in the US we have no laboratories that make commercially available treatments to be used as SLIT. SLIT is not FDA approved in the US and is not a covered service by most insurance companies. Local providers that may be providing SLIT are doing so with non-FDA approved products. We feel that SLIT will become available in the US in the coming years and we look forward to being able to provide this treatment option to our patients that may benefit from it.
Do you have extended office hours?
We offer extended hours on Thursday evenings to accommodate working, busy families.