Allergy & Asthma Services
Phoenix Allergy & Asthma provides evaluation and a variety of treatment options for all ages of those suffering from multiple forms of allergy and/or asthma. For patients with environmental allergy, we evaluate and treat for both seasonal and perennial symptoms. Below is a list of common conditions that we treat.
Allergic Rhinitis/Hay Fever & Allergy Shots
Patients may suffer from sneezing, congestion, sinus headaches, itching, fatigue, post-nasal drip and coughing. These symptoms may have allergic or non-allergic causes and they may be either seasonal or perennial. The evaluation includes a detailed medical history, physical exam and allergy skin testing with results obtained within 15 minutes. For testing, we use a regional environmental panel consisting of the relevant pollen from grasses (Bermuda, Rye, Johnson, etc.), weeds (Ragweed, Tumbleweed, Sagebrush, etc.) and trees (Olive, Mesquite, Mulberry, etc.) in addition to mold spores, pet dander and insects. Treatment options include education, avoidance measures, medications and allergy shots.
We use the Greer Omni skin testing system, which patients find much more comfortable when compared to the older scratch or prick techniques. Please click here to see how the skin testing is performed with this device.
We offer both a conventional weekly allergy shot program and a RUSH allergy shot program for patients with busy schedules and time limitations. The RUSH allergy shot program allows patients to bypass the typical 6-12 months of weekly shot visits and improvement can be achieved within weeks. The time needed to reach the monthly maintenance shot is 7 weeks for most patients who choose RUSH method.
Allergy shots are customized for each patient in an effort to induce a state of long-term desensitization and tolerance to allergens whereby reducing allergy symptoms, the need for medications and other complications from allergies (sinus infections, coughing, headaches, fatigue, etc). Please click here for patient testimonials regarding our allergy shots.
Patients may experience coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, nighttime awakenings due to chest symptoms and exercise limitation. Asthma affects more than 20 million people in the United States. About 70-80% of patients with asthma have allergies contributing to the cause of symptoms. Asthma tends to worsen as sinus allergy symptoms increase. There is often a genetic component and it tends to run in families. Common triggers of symptoms include weather changes, colds/infections, allergies, pollution and exercise. The evaluation includes a detailed medical history, physical exam, lung function testing, exhaled nitric oxide level measurement and peak flow evaluation. Treatment includes education, avoidance measures, medications/inhalers and possibly allergy shots. In children with sinus allergies, allergy shots have been shown to reduce the risk of developing asthma by about 50%. For patients with severe allergic asthma, Xolair (Omalizumab) and Nucala (mepolizumab) may be considered in the treatment protocol.
Food Allergy & Food Intolerance
With true food allergy, the immune system reacts to certain foods and symptoms may include itching, trouble breathing, swelling, stomach pain, hives or loss of consciousness. It is important to distinguish between food allergy and food intolerance. While food allergy typically starts early in life, it can develop later and affect people of all ages. It is often found in association with asthma, nasal allergy, eczema and eosinophilic esophagitis. After a detailed medical history and physical exam, the proper testing is chosen to aid in making the diagnosis. We are able to test for a large panel of food allergens including the most common offenders such as dairy, eggs, gluten, soy, seafood, and nuts in addition to meats, fruits, vegetables and certain spices. If food intolerance is suspected, we offer education and dietary guidance to help reduce symptoms.
Atopic dermatitis is a form of eczema associated with environmental and/or food allergies. While infants and children tend to be more affected than adults, this condition may develop at any time and affect people of all ages. It is associated with dryness, rashes and itching. Symptoms typically start with itching, and then a rash develops (“the itch that rashes”). Treatment includes identification and avoidance of allergies, topical and oral medications, and possibly allergy shots.
Patients may be affected by either acute or chronic sinusitis. This involves actual infection of the sinuses and is a common complication of allergic rhinitis. Symptoms may include persistent congestion, sinus pressure, sinus headaches, fever and post-nasal drip. Allergy is one of the most common conditions that leads to sinus infections.
Watery, red, itchy, or irritated eyes. While there are a number of conditions that are associated with these symptoms, allergy is one of the most common causes.
Three of the most common causes of chronic cough include post-nasal drip, acid reflux/GERD, and asthma. Each of these conditions may have an allergic cause and it is important to have a thorough evaluation if you have a chronic cough or notice a seasonal pattern. Certain medications may lead to chronic coughing as well and these are reviewed by the physician.
Soft, non-cancerous growths that lead to nasal obstruction and poor air flow. They may develop as a consequence of environmental allergy. A common consequence is the partial or total loss of the sense of smell. Nasal polyps are sometimes associated with asthma and aspirin sensitivity (Samter’s Triad).
Skin rashes that develop due to physical contact with an allergic trigger such as poison ivy, jewelry/metals (nickel), cosmetics, perfumes or other chemicals found in a variety of purchased products. Patch testing is used to determine the offending agent that leads to the development of this type of allergic rash. Treatment involves identification and avoidance of offending agents and topical/oral medications when needed.
Also known as urticaria, these are itchy welts that can be either acute or chronic in nature. Acute causes may include food, medications or infections. Chronic causes are more difficult to diagnose but are often associated with an auto-immune component. There are a number of treatment options available for each patient, even those with the most sever symptoms. For severe hives we offer monthly Xolair injections, which is very effective.
Patient’s with Aspirin Exacerbated Respiratory Disease or AERD, also known as Samter’s Triad, are plagued with 1) Asthma 2) Nasal Polyps and 3) Aspirin/NSAID hypersensitivity reactions. This is a complicated condition that is not truly related to allergy. People who suffer from this condition typically have poorly controlled asthma, recurrent nasal polyps and “allergic” reactions when they take aspirin or NSAIDS (Advil, Motrin, etc). The diagnosis is made by clinical history and sometimes by an aspirin challenge in the clinic. Treatment may involve an aspirin desensitization procedure done in our clinic.
Stinging Insect Allergy
Allergic reactions to insects such as ants, wasps, bees, yellow jackets and hornets. The reactions can vary from large local reactions at the sting site to severe life threatening allergic reactions. We evaluate and offer treatment for this form of allergy.
A severe, systemic and potentially life threatening allergic reaction. Symptoms may include hives, swelling, trouble breathing, stomach cramps or loss of consciousness due to a drop in blood pressure. There are a number of causes but the most common include medications, food, insect stings or latex. After a detailed medical history and physical, allergy testing is used to help identify the culprit allergen. Treatment involves education avoidance measures and an Epipen device with an anaphylaxis action plan for emergency situations.
Swelling of one or more body parts. It can develop due to allergic causes, medications, auto-immune causes or enzyme deficiencies/dysfunction. It may be associated with or without hives. Symptoms can last from minutes to days. A number of treatment options are available after the correct diagnosis has been made.
Inflammation of the esophagus (swallowing tube) due to allergies. Symptoms may include chronic reflux/GERD (that does not adequately respond to acid lowering medications) or the sensation of food getting stuck when trying to swallow. It is often associated with environmental and/or food allergy. We often work with a gastroenterologist in the evaluation and treatment of this condition.
A person can be allergic to any drug. The most common offenders include antibiotics, seizure medications and pain medications such as aspirin and ibuprofen (NSAIDS). We carefully evaluate all patients, offer testing when appropriate and perform drug challenges in our clinic when needed. Penicillin allergy testing is now commercially available and we routinely perform this testing in our clinic. Less than 15% of patients who are considered to be penicillin allergic are actually allergic to penicillin.
People who experience chronic or repeated infections may have a genetic deficiency of the immune system. Infectious complications may develop early in life or manifest in adulthood. Repeated episodes of sinus infections, bronchitis, pneumonia or chronic gastrointestinal infections may be a sign of a primary immune deficiency. We perform both a quantitative and qualitative evaluation of the immune system and provide effective therapeutic options for each patient when intervention is needed.