Certain foods, environmental factors, and other substances can trigger allergic reactions that range from mild to severe. Knowing what causes these reactions makes it possible to prevent them from happening and relieve symptoms. Patients in Tustin and Los Alamitos, California can undergo allergy testing with Dr. Charles Oh at Tustin Ear, Nose & Throat, Sinus and Allergy Center.

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What Causes Allergies?

Allergies happen when the immune system considers harmless substances a threat to the body. The immune system attacks these substances, triggering allergic reactions, such as sneezing, trouble breathing, or rashes. Some allergic reactions are mild, while others can become life-threatening in a short amount of time.

Why is Allergy Testing Done?

Allergy testing helps determine which specific allergens are causing allergic reactions. That’s the first step in treating allergies and lowering the risk of having reactions occur. For some patients, finding out what they’re allergic to is necessary for preventing potentially life-threatening reactions, such as allergies to bee stings or nuts. Dr. Oh provides allergy testing to help patients determine what’s causing their allergies.

What Kinds of Allergy Tests Does Dr. Oh Offer?

Dr. Oh commonly uses skin and blood tests for allergy testing. Skin tests include skin patch tests, skin prick tests, and intradermal tests. Skin patch tests, which Dr. Oh uses for skin allergies, involve putting a pad with the suspected allergen on the skin for 24-72 hours and checking for a reaction. Skin prick tests involve putting a drop of the suspected allergen on the skin, then pricking the area with a thin needle to let the allergen enter the body. Reactions, such as redness, typically occur within 15-20 minutes.

Intradermal tests involve directly injecting an allergen into the body and checking for a response. For blood tests, Dr. Oh removes a sample of blood to determine if it contains allergen-specific antibodies and how many there are. Blood tests can show if a certain allergen is causing reactions, but they don’t indicate how severe the allergy is.

How Does Dr. Oh Test for Food Allergies?

Dr. Oh uses oral food challenges and elimination diets to test for food allergies. Patients can find out if they have a pre-existing food allergy with an oral food challenge. This type of testing involves having patients eat the suspected allergen in small amounts to see if a reaction occurs. Dr. Oh provides close supervision during this kind of test. An elimination diet involves removing suspected allergens from the diet for 2-4 weeks. If symptoms resolve, this can indicate that these allergens were causing reactions.

Allergy Treatments

At Tustin ENT we provide a wide range of immunotherapy services including traditional allergy shot therapy and also different types of sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT).  SLIT is where small amounts of the allergic substance are placed underneath the tongue to stimulate an immune response that should over time, help the patient become less sensitive to their allergies.  The advantages of SLIT are that it can be done at home and so the patient does not have to come to the office for regular treatment. It is also known to be safer than typical allergy shot therapy with less risk of severe reactions.  SLIT has been available for years through Ear Nose & Throat Allergy specialists and is the main stay of allergy treatment in Europe.  It has been especially good for kids as the treatment has less risk and has no use of needles.  Please call the office to schedule a consultation to see if this therapy would work for you or your family.

For more information on allergy testing, please contact Tustin Ear, Nose & Throat, Sinus and Allergy Center for an appointment with Dr. Oh.