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Dr. Zadeh at Los Angeles Sinus Institute is a Head and Neck Surgeon, specializing in nasal and sinus disorders. His focus is on treating the underlying cause as well as the symptoms of disease. Allergies can be a contributing factor and underlying cause for several common sinus ailments, including:

  • Nasal polyps
  • Enlarged turbinates
  • Chronic sinusitis
  • Allergic rhinitis

Patients use allergy testing in Los Angeles to help identify the specific allergens that are causing them allergic symptoms by measuring how they react to specific allergens such as food, tree pollen, pet dander, or mold. A “positive” allergy test means that a person has a specific allergic antibody to the substance tested. This often means that the person is allergic to the substance, and therefore may experience symptoms when exposed to the allergen.

Allergies and the Immune System

When a person has allergies, the immune system overreacts to a substance that is eaten, touched, or inhaled. The immune system controls how the body defends itself against bacteria, viruses, etc. When an allergy exists, it identifies that typically harmless substance as an invader, or allergen, and produces antibodies known as Immunoglobin E (IgE), which travel to cells that release certain chemicals, creating an allergic reaction. These allergic reactions can range in severity from momentary sniffles and sneezing to life-threatening anaphylactic shock.

Allergies produce many different symptoms. Common respiratory allergic symptoms include nasal congestion; itchy eyes, nose, and throat; runny nose; watery eyes; chest congestion; cough or wheezing.

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Allergy Testingby using Skin Testing

Skin testing is the oldest and most reliable form of allergy testing. It has been performed for more than 100 years and continues to be the standard for correct diagnosis of allergic disease.

A small amount of a suspected allergen (usually a commercially available diluted extract of substances such as tree pollens, pet dander or mold) is injected into the skin to see if a reaction develops. Skin testing is not painful, and there is generally no bleeding involved.

It is not necessary to wait a long time to find out if you are allergic to a particular substance, or what substances you are allergic to. If you are going to have a reaction to a specific allergen, it will usually occur within approximately 20 minutes of the injection.

Approximately 60 skin tests are usually performed, all done in an hour long session. A positive skin test appears as a raised, red itchy bump, similar to a mosquito bite. A negative test produces no skin reaction at all. If you do have a reaction to an allergen, the bump will go away in approximately 30 minutes.

Allergy Shots (Immunotherapy)

The goal of allergy shots is to “train” the immune system over time to better tolerate the allergens that trigger the allergic symptoms. The end result is that the patient becomes “immune” to the allergens and can better tolerate them with fewer or no symptoms.

Skin testing is performed first to discover the specific allergens causing the allergic reactions. Treatment begins by administering shots containing very small doses of allergens. The dosage is slowly increased with each shot to allow the immune system to safely adjust and build up immunity to the allergens.

Initially, allergy shots are given on a weekly basis, and later only once a month. By giving small but increasing amounts of these allergens at regular intervals, the patient’s tolerance to the allergens gradually increases. Once the higher doses of allergens are being administered, the patient will experience relief from allergy symptoms.

diagram of nose structure

Effectiveness of Immunotherapy for Sinus Disorders

Recent research has shown that immunotherapy is an effective treatment for patients with sinus disorders and allergic rhinitis (nasal allergies). According to a study published in the Annals of Allergy Asthma Immunology, immunotherapy produced a 72% reduction in days lost from work or school, a 26% reduction in the use of medications, and a 51% reduction in overall symptoms in the subjects involved in the study.

Allergy Testing Q&A

Why is allergy testing performed?

Skin tests are the most popular way to test for a variety of allergies in the safety of a doctor’s office. Many different allergens can be tested at once, giving you a comprehensive overview of potential risks. Once you are aware of what you are allergic to, you can avoid coming in contact with that substance more easily.

What are the benefits of allergy testing?

Unexpectedly contacting a food or substance to which you have an allergic reaction can be dangerous. Unanticipated allergic reactions pose a health risk, depending on your access to medical treatment and the response time of emergency services. Identifying allergens before you come in contact with the substance in your daily activities can potentially save your life. Allergy testing at our facility is done using diluted substances, and extreme allergic reactions are very rare.

How long does an allergy test take?

Allergy tests done at the Los Angeles Sinus Institute are completed in approximately 60 minutes. Allergic reactions can be detected after about 20 minutes, so your results are immediate and you will leave our facility with a list of potential allergens. We can also test for up to 60 allergens during your visit, meaning that one simple appointment can prevent a dangerous allergic reaction in the future.

Are the tests painful?

No. Allergy tests consist of a small injection of the allergen into your skin, which is not painful. The injections are superficial and in most cases the injections aren’t even deep enough to produce blood.

Will I experience a dangerous allergic reaction?

It is extremely rare that any person will experience a particularly strong allergic reaction. Allergy tests are performed using diluted extracts of common allergens in foods, mold, pet dander, and tree pollen. If a patient is allergic to a certain substance, they usually only experience a mild irritation similar to a mosquito bite.

Food Allergy Q&A

Why is it important to test for food allergies?

Food allergies are extremely common, with over 20 million adults and children in the US having some form of allergy. Allergies can also change with time, meaning that you can develop or outgrow food allergies over the course of your lifetime. Testing for food allergies will give you an overview of foods to avoid before you accidentally come in contact with it.

What’s the difference between a food intolerance and a food allergy?

People often use these terms interchangeably. However, there is a distinct difference between a food allergy and a food intolerance. A food allergy causes your immune system to overreact and can include dangerous symptoms, including anaphylactic shock. A food intolerance is when your body has trouble digesting a particular food and usually involves an upset stomach.

How long does it take to see a reaction?

Your allergic reaction will vary based on the level of your allergy to the substance. Whether you ingest the food by accident, or undergo skin tests at our facility, reaction times can range from a few minutes to a few hours. If you have a skin test performed at our facility, notify our staff of any changes or developing reactions you see after you have returned home.

An Authority on Sinus Conditions and Diseases

Dr. Zadeh at Los Angeles Sinus Institute treats each of his patients as though he or she were a family member. He believes strongly in treating the source of disease as well as the symptoms, and in treating the whole patient as well as the nasal or sinus disorder. He uses advanced diagnostic technology and medical therapies, and the latest, minimally invasive surgical techniques for the greatest outcome with the least risk for his patients.

Allergies can contribute significantly to chronic sinusitis, polyps, and other disorders of the nasal cavity and sinuses. If you have allergies causing swelling, inflammation, nasal congestion, impaired breathing, headaches, or worse, contact us to schedule an initial consultation with Dr. Zadeh in Los Angeles regarding allergy testing and treatment for your allergies. With allergy testing and immunotherapy, Dr. Zadeh is treating the source of your nasal and sinus problems, not only the symptoms. He delivers arguably the best allergy testing Los Angeles has to offer.

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