Frequently Asked Questions

What are allergies?
Allergies are your body’s reaction to a substance which views it as a potential harmful invader. Contact with seemingly harmless substances, such as pollen or food, can cause the body’s immune system to over react. These usually harmless substances are called allergens.

What is Asthma?
Asthma is considered a reversible inflammatory airway disease affecting bronchial tubes. The inflammation is characterized by swelling of the mucosal lining, increased mucous production, and constriction of the smooth muscle surrounding the breathing tube.

What are the most common allergens?
The most common causes of allergy and asthma symptoms are airborne allergens such as: dust mites, molds, pollens, animal dander and even cockroaches. Other common allergens are: nuts, peanuts, shellfish, milk, eggs and latex. You can also experience symptoms of allergies from foods and medications (penicillin).

How are allergies diagnosed?
An allergist is especially trained to diagnose your allergies by performing a careful clinical history and using allergy skin tests or blood tests, which show if your immune system reacts to specific allergens.

How are allergies treated?
The best method of treating allergies is allergen avoidance. However, many allergies can be treated with medication to alleviate your symptoms. You many also consider immunotherapy (allergy shots) which targets the specific allergens with shots. Allergy shots have been an established form of treatment for over 100 years. It is FDA approved to lessen the risk and severity of asthma as well. Even pregnant women are allowed to receive allergy shots.

Why doesn’t this office administer oral allergy serum?
Oral allergy or “under the tongue” therapy is not an FDA approved therapy. This means that the therapy has not been proven in the US to be any better than placebo or sugar water. All Health Plans do not cover non-FDA approved therapies. European studies on oral therapy has only been shown to be effective at extreme doses and only to single antigen allergy. Most US patients have multiple allergies on either skin or blood testing.

What is an allergist?
A physician with specialized training and accreditation to evaluate, diagnose and treat individuals with allergies, asthma and other disorders of the immune system.

When Should I See an Allergy Doctor?
If you have asthma or allergy symptoms, such as sneezing, nasal congestion, cough or wheezing, an allergist will help you in many areas. Allergists are trained to help diagnose, educate you about your condition and then provide treatment that controls your symptoms. With the help of an allergist, these symptoms can usually be prevented or controlled and the patient’s quality of life greatly improved.

If your symptoms interfere with day-to-day activities, you should seek the care of a physician to help manage your allergies. In some cases, allergy problems may not require treatment and can be controlled with the occasional use of an over-the-counter medication, avoidance measures; however, some over-the-counter medications can produce undesirable side effects.

What education does an allergist require?
• Four years of medical school
• Three years of residency training in either internal medicine (adult medicine) or pediatrics
• Pass their board examinations in internal medicine or pediatrics
• Additional 2-3 years of fellowship training in the specialty of allergy/immunology

How does an allergist become board certified?
• By passing a rigorous examination that covers both immunology and clinical science
• By being trained in the evaluation and management of both adult and pediatric patients.

Why is board certification important?
• It requires extensive training and a rigorous review of a doctor’s knowledge, experience and skill in a medical specialty.
• It means that a doctor is actively improving his or her practice of medicine through continuing education.
• They are more likely to have the most current skills and knowledge about how to treat your medical condition.
• They have gone above and beyond minimal requirements