For Allergy Immunotherapy (Shots) Schedule please see the Patient Education section of our website.

 

Allergic reactions (hypersensitivity reactions) are inappropriate responses of the immune system to a normally harmless substance.

  • Usually, allergies make the eyes water and itch, the nose run, the skin itch, rashes develop, and people sneeze.
     
  • Some symptoms, called anaphylactic reactions, are life threatening.
     
  • Symptoms suggest the diagnosis, and skin tests can help identify the allergy trigger.
     
  • People who have had severe reactions should always carry a self-injecting syringe of epinephrine and antihistamines.
     
  • Avoiding the trigger is best, but if it is impossible, allergy shots can sometimes desensitize the person.
     
  • Severe reactions require emergency treatment in the hospital.

Normally, the immune system -- which includes antibodies, white blood cells, mast cells, complement proteins, and other substances -- defends the body against foreign substances (called antigens). However, in susceptible people, the immune system can overreact when exposed to certain chemicals (allergens) in the environment, foods, or drugs, which are harmless in most people. The result is an allergic reaction. Some people are allergic to only one substance. Others are allergic to many. About one third of the people in the United States have an allergy.

Allergens may cause an allergic reaction when they land on the skin or in the eye, are inhaled, are eaten, or are injected. An allergic reaction can occur in several ways:

  • As part of a seasonal allergy (such as hay fever), caused by exposure to such substances as grass or ragweed pollen.
     
  • Triggered by taking a drug.
     
  • Triggered by eating certain foods.
     
  • Triggered by breathing in dust or animal dander.

In many allergic reactions, the immune system, when first exposed to an allergen, produces a type of antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE). IgE binds to a type of white blood cell called basophils in the bloodstream and to a similar type of cell called mast cells in the tissues. The first exposure may make people sensitive to the allergen but does not cause symptoms. When sensitized people subsequently encounter the allergen, the basophils and mast cells with IgE on their surface release substances (such as histamine, prostaglandins, and leukotrienes) that cause swelling or inflammation in the surrounding tissues. Such substances begin a cascade of reactions that continue to irritate and harm tissues. These reactions range from mild to severe.

At Greenbrier Valley E.N.T. and Facial Plastic Surgery we provide skin testing for common inhalant allergies. These include pet danders (dog, cat, feather) , dust mites, cockroach, horse hair and cattle hair, molds and pollens that are found in our area. We perform allergy testing on Thursdays at our Lewisburg office.

To inquire about allergy testing for you or your child, please contact our office to schedule an appointment to see one of our providers to discuss your allergy symptoms and allergy testing.