Do you have patients who suffer from seasonal allergies? More than 50 million people in the U.S. alone have allergies. Finding the allergen, or cause of your allergies, is the first step in finding the right treatment options for you and your allergy symptoms. Did you know that the most effective way of figuring out what those allergies are is a skin “scratch” allergy test? Did you know that you can treat those allergies with FDA approved sublingual drops?
NFM is very excited to be offering the skin scratch allergy test. It is an easy and quick method of determining allergy triggers. At NFM we use GREER Allergy testing and test for several allergens specific to the Pacific Northwest as well as a few common food allergens.
The “scratch” testing is done using a devise that is dipped in the allergen and then placed on the top of the skin firmly to get the allergen under the top layer of skin. This is a painless procedure and is well tolerated by all ages (as young as 5 years old)! Skin “scratch” testing is also covered by most insurance (though may be subject to a deductible).
According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, skin tests for allergies have been in practice since the 1860s. Today’s versions are barely invasive, well tolerated, test for a broad range of allergens, and often produce quick results. The “scratch” test has become the medical standard testing anywhere between 10 to 50 different allergens and taking from 5 to 10 minutes.
Sublingual immunotherapy introduces small doses, usually as drops under the tongue or a tablet, to build tolerance to an allergen . This increased tolerance reduces symptoms over time.
Conditions that skin scratch testing can help treat:
- Chronic sinus conditions
- Seasonal allergies
- Chronic ear concerns
- Environmental reactions
- Hay fever
**Patients need to discontinue their allergy medication for 3 days prior to testing**
Sublingual Immunotherapy (SLIT) –Allergy Treatment
NFM is now offering SLIT, a well-researched allergy treatment similar to allergy shots, that desensitizes your body to substances you are allergic to. Sublingual immunotherapy is used to treat environmental allergies such as pollen, dust, molds and animal danders. It does not treat food allergies. To determine what you are allergic to, in office skin prick testing is performed for 38 common environmental allergens found in WA state. If you are allergic to one or more of these substances a comprehensive Allergenic extract is prescribed and taken sublingually (under the tongue) on a daily basis for up to 3 years. The dose is slowly increased as your body decreases its sensitivity to the substances. Sublingual immunotherapy has been widely used in Europe for many years to successfully treat environmental allergies. NFM is working with Greer Allergy Immunotherapy, a leader in point of care skin prick allergy testing. Research has shown that Greer’s Skintestor OMNI™ has a positive predictive value of 97.2% (true positives) and a negative predictive value of 86.2% (true negatives), meaning that there is a low false positive and false negative rate. Sublingual Immunotherapy is an excellent way to treat allergies without pharmaceutical substances that can cause side effects and need to be taken indefinitely. SLIT has the potential to eliminate reactivity to environmental allergies on a long-term basis so you can enjoy life without allergies.