An allergy occurs when your immune system overreacts to something it should not react to. Rather than register the allergen as harmless, the immune system thinks it is being attacked and begins defending itself. This can result in a variety of symptoms such as red, itchy watery eyes, sneezing, congestion, hives, muscle and joint pain, and even mental confusion and forgetfulness. These types of reactions can be brought on by animal dander, mold, mildew, pollen, or dust mites.
Rather than simply guess what you are allergic to, Dr. Russell performs an allergy test on your back to determine what allergens trigger your immune response. After cleaning your back with alcohol, Dr. Russell will begin applying antigens to your skin. The test is effective and quick. Once it is complete, you will be asked to avoid scratching any itching and report any adverse reactions other than itching to Dr. Russell or her assistants. After 15 minutes, Dr. Russell will be able to read the results on the surface of your skin and advise you of any antigens you have reacted to.
One way to avoid having an allergic reaction is to avoid the allergen in the first place. While this sounds appealing, pollen can travel up to 50 miles from the source, and pet dander can stay on the soft surfaces of a home for up to six months. Even if you are successful in keeping your home allergen free, people are still often susceptible to common allergies. Allergy medications, whether over-the-counter or prescription strength, are designed to relieve the symptoms associated with allergies and can be effective when you encounter an unexpected allergen. However, immunotherapy, as performed at GLPC, addresses the cause of your allergy by retraining the immune system to stop reacting to the allergen. By placing a few drops of serum under your tongue on a daily basis, or visiting Dr. Russell for allergy shots, your body becomes desensitized and eventually stops reacting to the antigen.
Feel free to email us regarding any scheduling or general questions!