Allergy FAQs


While there are several ways to test for allergies, studies have demonstrated that certain kinds of skin testing give superior results than others. Here are two common methods used at Metairie Sinus & Snoring:

Prick Testing: A common screening test to determine if you are allergic to a particular substance by placing a series of allergens on your forearm by gently scratching the surface of the skin. This test only takes a few minutes because if you are allergic to a certain allergen, redness appears within a short period of time.

2) Intradermal Testing or Skin End-Point Titration (SET): SET testing is much more sensitive than prick testing, and therefore takes more time. It involves a series of small injections using tiny needles placed just under the skin, which causes only mild discomfort. The test substance is placed on the arm (or back) in rows, and if the small bumps enlarge after a short period of time then it indicates that one is allergic.

Dust is the most common allergen. It is a combination of several different antigens like cockroach and dust mites, which may live in mattresses, pillows, and carpets.

Many allergy sufferers react to common outdoor allergens such as pollen of weeds, trees, and grasses. Pollen is carried in the air and is easily inhaled. Early springtime allergens are often from tree pollen, while late spring allergies often come from grasses. Ragweed is the most common culprit in weed allergies and occurs primarily in late August until temperatures cool down.

Flowery plants tend to have heavy pollens that cannot stay airborne, so they are not a common cause of allergies.

Molds are fungi from mildew, damp places, and household and outdoor plants may take the form of spores, which drift into the air. Molds are not as affected by changing seasons and may last most of the year, especially indoor molds.

Other common antigens include cat and dog dander, insects and certain foods.

At Metairie Sinus & Snoring, we recommend four common ways to treat allergies:

Avoidance - The first line of defense for allergies is avoidance. Knowing what activates your allergies through allergy testing allows you to avoid being exposed to them in the first place. Reducing your exposure may dramatically improve your nasal issues. Unfortunately, many allergens, such as dust, pollens and mold are difficult if not impossible to avoid, especially at work.

Medications - The most common way to deal with allergies is through medication, although they may only offer temporary relief and little to no long-term benefit. Nonetheless, understanding how to use your medication is critical in your overall management of allergies.

Immunotherapy (allergy shots): Allergy shots are a mainstay option in treating the underlying cause of your allergic response, as opposed to solely treating your allergy symptoms. Immunotherapy is especially ideal for those who cannot avoid their allergens, who have severe allergies, or who do not wish to take a daily medication.

Treat Secondary Effects - Manage any consequences of long-term, untreated allergies, such as recurrent sinusitis, turbinate enlargement, ear infections, and formation of nasal polyps.

Allergy symptoms do not occur until you reach a certain level of exposure to an antigen. It takes repeated exposure to an allergen before you develop any symptoms. Think of allergies like a glass of water. Repeated exposure to allergens fills the glass with water, and once the water fills the glass and overflows, you get symptoms (congestion, itchy, watery eyes, etc.). However, everyone’s exposure threshold is different; some people have big glasses and can tolerate a lot of exposure while others have smaller glasses and get triggered easily by even the smallest amount of allergen. The goal in avoidance techniques is to limit your exposure the best you can.


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