IntegratedENT - Allergies

Allergies affect approximately 50 million Americans each year, making it the 6th most chronic illness in the U.S. The annual cost of allergies to the healthcare system and business in the U.S. is $18 billion. Allergy symptoms range from making you miserable to putting you at risk for life-threatening reactions (anaphylaxis).

An allergy occurs as a result of a hypersensitive immune response to a substance that either enters the body or touches the skin. Normally, your immune system fights germs, but with an allergic reaction, the body makes an antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE). Allergy symptoms occur when the body’s immune system begins to respond to a substance as though it were a dangerous invader (called an antigen). The body sends out defenders called antibodies to the site and chemical mediators, such as histamine, into the bloodstream. These antibodies respond to allergens, and the symptoms that result are an allergic reaction. An allergic reaction usually triggers symptoms in the nose, lungs, throat, sinuses, ears, the lining of the stomach, or on the skin. Allergies can also trigger symptoms of asthma.  

Common symptoms are itching, watery eyes, sneezing, nasal stuffiness, or a drippy nose. Some people have drainage down the back of their throats, hoarseness, or cough. Skin irritation, hives, and asthma are other symptoms that can be related to allergies. Sometimes, allergies can contribute to chronic sinus problems as swollen membranes in the nose block sinus drainage pathways.


The most common allergens that cause a reaction include pollen, dust mites, mold spores, pet dander, food, insect stings, and medicines.

Pollen allergies (also called hay fever) are common causes when patients have seasonal problems. In the early spring, tree pollens, such as Juniper and Cottonwood, can cause allergy symptoms. In late May and June, grasses are the culprit. Then, after a brief lull in July, weed pollen (such as ragweed, sage, and tumbleweed) may cause fall symptoms.

Perennial allergens are substances that may affect us all year long. These include pet dander, foods, and molds.

Symptoms of a Severe Allergic Reaction

Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) can be life-threatening, requiring immediate emergency care.  Call 911 if you or a loved one is experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • Throat Swelling
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Cramping
  • Low Blood Pressure
  • Fainting
  • Swollen or Itchy Lips or Tongue

Skin manifestations, such as hives, swelling, and flushing are usually in conjunction with the other symptoms listed above.

Diagnosing Allergies

Our ENT physicians are highly qualified to diagnose, test, and treat allergic diseases. After a careful history and exam, if an allergy is suspected, we will have you meet with our allergy nurse who will review all your medications and schedule you for allergy testing. These tests help identify which particular allergens trigger your symptoms.

Once the testing has been completed, we will develop a customized treatment plan for you. There are three basic, accepted approaches to allergy treatment: avoidance of offending allergens, medications that treat symptoms, and immunotherapy or desensitization to allergies with shots or drops. Our doctors will help guide you in making these choices.

Allergy Testing

Common allergy triggers include pollen, pet dander, mold, dust mites, food, and latex. There are several different ways to test for these allergies.  Our practice uses the Modified Quantitative Method (MQT), which combines skin prick allergy testing and intradermal testing. By combining both types of tests, doctors can arrive at a more accurate list of allergens that a patient has shown for positive reactions.

For this test, the skin of your forearm is pricked with a plastic device and depending on your response, we may do some intradermal injections in the upper arm. We will test for 29 different allergens including cat dander, dust mites, mold, and pollen. We do not do skin testing for food allergies, however, we can order a blood test for food allergies if the physician feels it is medically necessary.

Your skin test appointment generally takes 40-70 minutes depending on the results. We require that you wear a short sleeve or sleeveless shirt for your own comfort. For their safety and comfort, we ask that you leave infants and children with a caregiver. If you have asthma and have an inhaler, please bring it with you to your testing appointment.

Upon completion of your allergy test, we will apply Cortisone cream to your arms. If itching and redness continue, you may reapply Cortisone or Benadryl cream at home. If you have any delayed large reaction(s) on your arms, please call the office.

Skin Testing. This is the most common type of allergy test (“prick” testing) where a small drop of the allergen is introduced into the skin using a puncture or scratch device. If you are allergic, you will experience a little swelling at the site. The results of this test are usually available within 15-20 minutes.

Intradermal Testing. This testing uses a very small needle (syringe) to place a small amount of the allergen under your skin. Intradermal tests are often done when prick test results are inconclusive or a second test is needed to confirm results. 

Prior to having a prick test or intradermal test, patients should not take any antihistamines for 3-5 days, as they can block the accuracy of the testing and can result in false-negative results. 

For other medication restrictions and information on insurance benefits, please read through our page on “Preparing for Your Allergy Testing,” at least 2 weeks prior to your testing appointment to ensure you are prepared. 

Blood Testing. Blood testing is another option for patients, especially for those who cannot stop taking their antihistamine or who have a skin condition that causes skin tests to be unable to be read. It is also recommended for detecting food allergies and food sensitivities. Allergy blood tests detect and measure the amount of allergen-specific antibodies in your blood, and if you test positive your doctor may recommend allergy shots.

Treatment Options Available for Allergies

While there are no cures for allergies, they can be managed with prevention and treatment. Don’t suffer from symptoms needlessly.  Get the help you need.

There are various allergy treatments available such as lifestyle adjustments (including avoidance of the substance that causes the reaction), medications, and immunotherapy (allergy shots and allergy drops). Your doctor will recommend which treatment is best for you depending on the type of allergy you have.

Contact Us

If you think you are suffering from an allergy, call Integrated ENT of Lone Tree at (303) 706-1616 to schedule a full allergy workup. We treat adults as well as children, 5 years and older. Note that children often present symptoms differently than adults. Their symptoms may include, ear infections, snoring, hives, swollen airways, irritability, and dietary problems. Please contact us to see how we may help you or your loved one. You may also request an appointment online.