Family Health Care Center offers allergy sufferers a way to have skin testing and immunotherapy (allergy shots) customized on-site. Mass-produced over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription allergy medications can ease your symptoms, but they often have significant side effects and do not target the individual’s allergy. Custom immunotherapy is specifically designed to alleviate our allergy itself by helping your body make antibodies to the allergen(s). The immunotherapy works in part like childhood immunizations but have to be administered in very small doses over a longer period of time to combat the allergy symptoms. The allergy shots are unique custom-formulated antigen therapies that can help desensitize you to many of the pollens, molds and other triggers that cause your symptoms and make you uncomfortable. This desensitization therapy can allow you to be around those allergens without the common allergic reactions and symptoms. With minimal continued maintenance usage, these shots may last you a lifetime.
Skin Testing…The First Step
The procedure begins with skin testing to pinpoint your specific allergies. Skin testing is the oldest and most reliable form of allergy testing. Used for over 100 years, skin testing continues to be the “gold standard” for diagnosing allergic disease. This testing is not painful. A tiny comb gently scratches or abrades the skin surface. After the test is performed, it takes only about 15 minutes to develop. A positive test will appear as a raised, red itchy bump on the skin, like a mosquito bite.
Skin Test Results are reviewed with your healthcare provider as the Second Step
The skin test reveals allergic disease in miniature. For example, if you think you are allergic to cats, the test will show it. The test helps people see (and feel) a positive allergy to cat dander. This educational experience is much more dramatic for the patient than a printed blood test report revealing a positive cat allergy test. Test results are available within 15 minutes of testing, so you don’t have to wait long to learn the cause of your allergies.
Who can be tested?
Adults and children over the age of two can be tested for allergies. This is especially helpful for patients who suffer with both seasonal and year round allergy symptoms, allergic pneumonia, conjunctivitis (pink eye), undiagnosed cough, dermatitis (skin irritation), insect allergy, rhinitis, sinusitis, urticaria (hives) and angioedema (similar to hives, but beneath the skin).
Which allergens will I be tested for?
You will be tested for the 48 most geographically specific allergens in your area. We will test for products from dust mites, proteins from pet hair and dander, trees, grass and weed pollen, molds and cockroach droppings.
How can I schedule an appointment?
Call or ask your doctor for more information. If you currently use over-the-counter and prescription allergy relief aids, you know that they can have uncomfortable side effects. You also know that they don’t address the underlying cause of your symptoms. That’s why you should talk to your doctor about precision allergy testing and the new customized allergy shots that could help you say goodbye to your allergies forever. Family Health Care Center knows that every patient is different. Each responds differently to different allergens. That’s why we custom-formulate every single dosage of our allergy shots specifically for the individual patient. Unlike over-the-counter and prescription medications that ease your symptoms but may have significant side effects, we identify and then treat the cause of your disease with custom immunotherapy.
Preparing for your appointment:
- Call 912-489-4090 to request an appointment with one of the providers at Family Health Care Center to evaluate your symptoms and do an ENT exam.
- If the provider believes that you would benefit from skin testing, an appointment will then be made with the certified allergy technician.
- You will be asked to stop all antihistamines (like Claritin, Allegra, Benadryl, Zyrtec) as well as any steroid (Prednisone) or medication like Singulair, as well as reflux medications like Zantac for 3-10 days before testing as these can interfere with the results.
What is immunotherapy?
Allergen immunotherapy is a form of treatment aimed at decreasing your sensitivity to substances called allergens. It involves introducing increasing amounts of an allergen to a patient over several months. The course of immunotherapy varies by individual. The initial course of immunotherapy is one year, but full allergen immunity can take anywhere between two and five years.
How soon will I see results from immunotherapy?
Relief from allergies varies by individual, but the vast majority of patients see results within the first few months of immunotherapy. In order to achieve the most accurate test results, you should discontinue any antihistamines, over-the-counter or prescription drugs, for at least three days prior to allergy testing.
What are the benefits of allergy testing and immunotherapy?
One in five people suffer from symptomatic allergies. These symptoms can vary greatly from minor discomfort to severe disability. The cost of allergies can be significant when factoring in lost productivity and days off from work. Combined with expensive drugs that serve only to mask the symptoms, the average cost to patients can be upwards of $2,000 per year. And, at your physician’s discretion, immunotherapy can be performed in the comfort and convenience of your own home, eliminating the need for costly and inconvenient visits to your physician’s office.
Are the testing and immunotherapy covered by insurance?
Yes, most insurance plans cover allergy testing and immunotherapy. We will verify insurance benefits prior to testing.