The initial step in the treatment of an allergy is an accurate diagnosis by an allergist or immunologist. At Breathe America, Albuquerque, we have the services of Dr. Richard Wachs, a Board-certified Allergist-Immunologist to direct investigations and treatment of potential allergies. He and his team of 5 nurse practitioners will decide whether the patient’s symptoms are caused by an allergy and, if so, determining what triggers the allergy as accurately as possible. The resulting diagnosis will target the appropriate treatment or clinical intervention to allow avoidance of the allergic trigger which will help to eliminate or minimize symptoms.
An accurate diagnosis is obtained using a combination of approaches and tests that can include skin-pricks and blood tests to identify and confirm a diagnosis. Treatments depend on the severity and prevalence of symptoms as well as whether comorbidities such are asthma or chronic sinusitis coexist.
Stepwise allergy management consists of:
This approach is used mainly for allergies caused by food, drugs, venom, latex and animal dander. This can also include occupational allergies, and to a lesser extent, depending on the suspected cause, asthma, rhinitis and eczema. When using allergen avoidance, it is important to know that there may be interactions resulting from cross-reactions between, to name a few, latex and fruits and vegetables as well as tree pollen and fresh fruits. While it may appear simple, avoiding allergens may be difficult to achieve, costly and may not be completely successful.
This approach is most often used by taking prescription or OTC antihistamines, nasal steroid sprays, or steroid skin preparations for coexisting skin conditions. There are also a number of prescription medications including montelukast, zyflo, patanase, azelastine, and the whole newer class of biological therapies, such as Xolair, to tailor treatment to your specific situation.
By administering an allergen either via a beneath the skin (subcutaneous) injection or under the tongue (sublingual) an allergist or immunologist can try to reintroduce a patient’s immunological tolerance to a particular allergen. These procedures are typically used to treat allergies caused by pollen rhinitis, venom, asthma, and cat allergy. On occasion, the use of drugs to desensitize a patient to a particular allergen can also be used.