by Dr. Christopher Chang, last modified on
Please note that we do NOT treat patients with symptommatic asthma (daily inhaler use). We are an ENT allergy practice and as such, deal only with problems above the shoulders which excludes the lungs and asthma. We also do NOT typically address other types of allergies including foods, insect, metal, etc. We mainly focus on inhalant pollen allergy.
This practice sees many patients with symptoms of allergy and has successfully provided treatment of inhalant allergies with allergy shots since the 1970s. More recently, Fauquier ENT has added allergy drops under the tongue (sublingual immunotherapy or SLIT) as another mode of allergy immunotherapy treatment.
The preferred method that our office uses for allergy testing is immunoCAP or RAST. RAST and immunoCAP testing is performed by drawing your blood which is than sent out for analysis. The results take about two weeks. At this time, RAST/immunoCAP is the only method of allergy testing we provide. Please note that we do not participate with Quest Diagnostics at this time. Labs that do perform the appropriate RAST/immunoCAP allergy testing that we participate with include Labcorp and BioReference Lab.
SET (or Set Endpoint Titration) is considered the gold standard and involves skin testing with needles and takes about 30-45 minutes. With SET, you will know the results of your allergy test immediately and may be able to receive your first shot that same day. However, with SET, a patient must not be taking any beta-blocker drugs for high blood pressure and must be off all anti-histamines for 7 days prior to the allergy test. Furthermore, it is quite uncomfortable with skin itching, irritation, and redness that may last several hours to days. With RAST/immunoCAP, there is no need to stop taking any medications including anti-histamines and no adverse skin reactions. Please note that our office does not perform SET testing at this time.
Allergy control via shots / drops is provided for patients over the age of three years and who do not have symptommatic asthma (daily inhaler use; we are an ENT allergy practice and as such, deal only with problems above the shoulders which excludes the lungs and asthma). Individualized treatment plans are made from the results of the allergy testing. Patients are monitored carefully during immunotherapy until an effective maintenance dosage is reached. Most patients experience improvement in their allergy symptoms and a decrease in the need for medications within one year. However, complete allergy control with allergy shots/drops may take on average of 5 years.
For those placed on injections, we try to provide a schedule for injections amenable to our patients as well as being able to provide vaccine to a primary care physician closer to a patient's home or work. Once a maintenance dosage is reached, a patient can receive instructions on how to administer injections at home, if they so desire. Follow-up appointments are scheduled according to each patient's specific needs. One must remain off all beta-blockers for the duration of allergy shots that may last up to 3-7+ years for successful treatment. If you must remain on a beta-blocker, allergy drops are the only option.
For those placed on allergy drops, these may be administered by the patient at home. The drops are to be used three times a day by using a drop dispenser. The drops are placed under the tongue and allowed to sit there for at least 30 seconds before swallowing. Allergy drops are a viable alternative for patients who have contraindications against allergy shots. Please go here for more information.
More informational allergy handouts are available here.
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