Allergy Shot Injection Hours
Mon 12:30-5:30 | Tue 12:00-4:30 | Wed 8:30-1:00 | Thu 12:30-5:30 | Fri 9:00-1:00
Allergy Testing at Midwest ENT Centre
When allergies become severe or no longer are controlled adequately with reasonable medication use, the key to understanding your symptoms is to learn:
- Which allergens are causing your symptoms?
- How severe is your body’s reaction to each of these allergens?
- What Allergens Do We Test For?
These answers are only accurately obtained through an allergy test. At Midwest ENT Centre, much care and research goes into choosing the extensive allergen testing panel and the method of treatment. Each test will cover the predominant allergens in the St. Louis region, including representative samples from the following classes:
- Seasonal Allergens
- Tree pollens (primarily springtime)
- Grass pollens (primarily summer)
- Weed pollens (primarily in autumn)
- Perennial (year-round) Allergens
- Dust mite, cockroach
- Dog, cat
While allergy testing can be obtained through a blood sample (called in vitro, or RAST testing), research shows allergy skin testing to be more sensitive and accurate. Skin testing is very easy to complete, even for our pediatric patients. All skin testing is performed by our very qualified and friendly nursing staff under the on-site direction of Midwest ENT physicians.
Allergy skin testing typically takes about 45 minutes to complete, and gives our nursing staff time to educate our patients about the process and about their specific allergies. Standard skin testing is performed in two main steps, and generally follows this sequence:
- Allergy screen or “prick tests” is administered.
- This needle-free step takes about 5 minutes and is not uncomfortable.
- This is performed by quickly using a plastic applicator device that gently introduces allergens to the first layer of the skin.
- For some pediatric patients, this may be the only step necessary during testing.
- Wait 10-15 minutes for skin responses (called “wheals”) to develop, which are then measured and recorded.
- Confirmatory “intradermal tests” of the same allergens are applied.
- Applying the allergen panel in this manner takes about 10 minutes.
- The smallest needle possible is used for this step to inject in the tough layer of your skin. It is typically described much more like a “mosquito bite” than a shot.
- Wait 10-15 minutes.
- Test completion
- Skin responses are quantified and complete results tallied.
- Patient and family are educated about the results, and cream can be applied to soothe the itching at the testing site.
- In most cases, patients will immediately see their treating physician to choose a treatment plan based on the results of the test.
Pre-testing numbing creams are available for our pediatric and “needle-phobic” patients.
Before Your Allergy Test
Testing will likely take 45-60 minutes to complete, and typically runs right on schedule. Please arrive for your allergy test 10 minutes early wearing comfortable clothing. Tests will be applied to the upper and lower arms, so sleeveless, loose-fitting shirts work best. There will be some down time as we wait for skin responses to develop, so feel free to bring a tablet, book or other personal item to help pass the time. If you would like to have a drink or small snack during your test, you are welcome to bring it.
Allergy skin testing uses your body’s allergic response to each allergen for the most accurate diagnosis. It is very important that you strictly avoid certain medications (especially antihistamines) for 5 days before your test, as they can result in a “false negative” test and a delay in your diagnosis. Please consult the following list for medications to avoid. You may resume them as soon as the test is complete.
What Are Allergies?
In the St. Louis area, seemingly everyone knows someone with a significant allergy problem—or suffers from one themselves. Allergy is a chronic condition characterized by oversensitivity to otherwise harmless particles called allergens. In an allergic state, a person’s immune system mistakenly recognizes these allergens as potentially harmful foreign invaders (like bacteria or viruses). The response results in histamine being released from mast cells, causing the characteristic symptoms associated with allergy.
Over 80% of all allergic disease primarily affects the nose, ears and throat. Most often, the primary complaints are the congestion, itching and sneezing. At Midwest ENT Centre, our physicians pride themselves on diagnosing and treating moderate-to-severe allergies that can affect patients in ways that may not be so obvious, like the following:
- Nasal obstruction
- Recurrent and chronic sinus infections
- Decreased smell
- Nasal polyps
- Eustachian tube problems and ear popping
- Recurrent ear infections
- Ear canal dermatitis, ear itching
- Throat & Lung
- Trouble swallowing, globus sensation (the feeling that something is stuck in the throat)
- Chronic cough
- Reactive airway disease like asthma
- Recurrent bronchitis and pneumonia
What Is Allergic Rhinitis?
Allergic rhinitis is immune-mediated inflammation of the nasal passages. It is by far the most common manifestation of allergic disease, affecting 30% of Americans and accounting for over 11 million physician visits in the U.S. each year. Allergic rhinitis is said to cost the U.S. healthcare system over $4 billion annually.
Care of the allergic patient usually centers on controlling the nose. Most patients complain about their nasal symptoms, and the nose is the entry point for allergens into the body. As we often say, “The nose rules the ears—and often the throat.” Luckily, there are many effective treatments available.
Which Allergy Treatment Is Best?
It’s always best to remember that for allergies, the simplest treatment that controls symptoms is usually the best. Unlike high blood pressure, allergic rhinitis doesn’t put patients at risk for serious future harm. We usually treat when symptoms require it. Improved quality of life through symptom control is the main goal.
For those with mild seasonal allergies, environmental control and intermittent antihistamine use can be enough. Many patients have more severe allergies, or year-round symptoms that cannot be controlled with OTC (over-the-counter) medications. Finally, if medications no longer help or have become too cumbersome, an allergy test can be the key to much better control over your allergies. Talk to one of the board-certified otolaryngologists at Midwest ENT Centre to learn more.
Call Midwest ENT Centre at (636) 441-3100 for more information or to schedule an appointment.