Despite the cool weather, spring has made an appearance. While most are looking forward to the warmer weather and change of scenery, there are others who are dreading the allergies produced by the pollen overload.
The Newport Diagnostic Medical Clinic has recently implemented a treatment for those stubborn allergies. The clinic is adding allergy testing and customized treatment services to its already extensive services offered to patients at 2200 Malcolm Avenue, beside Kroger Foods.
The new allergy services include the gold standard in testing and custom-formulated immunotherapy, an FDA approved method for decreasing the sensitivity to, or desensitizing, allergies over time. This method has been proven to effectively alleviate allergy symptoms for life.
"We want the best possible care and treatment for our patients,” says Family Physician, Dr. Randall Hunt. “This new service can significantly increase our patients’ quality of life by reducing or eliminating allergy symptoms and discomfort.”
Patients who suffer from seasonal allergies can be tested at the Newport Diagnostic Medical Clinic for the 48 most geographically specific mold and airborne allergens in the area. The medications, called allergy immunotherapy, are then custom-formulated based on the allergy test results and help desensitize patients to many of the pollens, molds and other triggers that cause symptoms. This desensitization therapy can allow patients to be around those allergens without having an allergic reaction such as sneezing, coughing, runny nose, itchy and watery eyes, congestion, sleepiness, headache and nausea.
Allergen immunotherapy is a form of treatment aimed at decreasing an individual’s sensitivity to substances called allergens. It involves introducing increasing amounts of allergens to a patient over several months. Immunotherapy is administered in the comfort of the patients’ home, instead of some common allergy therapies that require an appointment at the physician’s office, saving patients time and money.
Unlike allergy medicines, which act only to “cover up” allergic symptoms or prevent them temporarily, allergy immunotherapy can change the underlying problem of allergies. This occurs because the body treats the injection much like a vaccine, resulting in the production of infection-fighting antibodies against pollen, dust, mold or pet dander. The body then stops producing allergic antibodies against triggers, and therefore won’t have an allergic response when exposed to the allergens. These changes can last for many years even after stopping allergy immunotherapy. Recent studies show that allergy immunotherapy can also prevent people from developing new allergies, and reduce the risk of developing asthma in children with nasal allergies.
The testing is not painful. A tiny comb gently scratches or abrades the skin surface. After the test is performed, it takes about 15 minutes to develop. A positive test will appear as a raised, red bump on the skin, similar to a mosquito bite.
Skin scratch testing is the oldest and most reliable form of allergy testing and continues to be the “gold standard” for diagnosing allergic disease.
Adults and children over the age of two can be tested for allergies. This is especially helpful for patients who suffer with asthma, 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).
After a course of allergy immunotherapy, 80 to 90 percent of patients have less allergy symptoms, and in many cases their allergies have completely resolved.
At the Newport Diagnostic Medical Clinic, we understand that every patient is different. Each responds differently to different allergens. That’s every single dosage of our allergy medications is custom-formulated specifically for the individual patient,” says Family Physician, Dr. Nicole Lawson. “Unlike over-the-counter and prescription medications that ease your symptoms, but may have significant side effects, these custom medications treat the cause of your disease.”
For more information, or to make an appointment for allergy testing, please call the Newport Diagnostic Medical Clinic at (870) 512-2500.