About 50 million Americans suffer from allergies, so if you think you’re one of them and live in the Puget Sound region, get tested by an ear, nose, and throat specialist like Dr. Nancy Becker. Call her Bonney Lake or Enumclaw, Washington office for a personalized allergy exam and the best available treatment options including immunotherapy.

Allergies Q & A

What are allergies and allergy exams?

Your immune system reacts to a variety of foreign objects it comes into contact with, and allergies are when your body encounters irritants in the air or food, whether through touch, breathing, or ingesting. Allergens are substances triggering any common symptoms:

  • Itchy skin, mouth, or eyes
  • Breakout of rashes or hives
  • Tongue, throat, or face swelling
  • Sneezes
  • Coughs
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Thankfully, allergy exams can pinpoint allergens. The earlier your diagnosis, the better you can avoid dangerous allergic reactions. Dr. Becker recommends testing even if your symptoms are mild so you’re empowered to live the most comfortable life possible.

How are allergy exams performed?

Dr. Becker administers either a blood or a skin test, or both. For skin exams, she injects your arm with a prick of several typical or suspected allergens. If your skin swells with red dots, that indicates an allergy. The reaction takes between 20 minutes and a few hours, with symptoms fading away within two days.

For allergy exams using blood, Dr. Becker draws a sample and has it analyzed by a lab. She often prefers this method when she suspects you’re at risk of severe allergic reactions.

What are allergy shots?

A common method of immunotherapy, allergy shots are an injection treatment option designed to train your immune system to gradually strengthen its defenses against your allergens or learn to live with them without adverse reactions or triggering significant symptoms.

If regular antihistamines and other over-the-counter medications don’t provide sufficient allergy relief, and you suffer for several months a year, you may be a good candidate for immunotherapy.

How does immunotherapy work for allergies?

Dr. Becker schedules a series of injections containing small, safe amounts of your allergen so you develop antibodies, the threat-neutralizing puzzle pieces of your immune system. In some cases, she prescribes oral tablets you can place under your tongue at home instead of injections at her clinic. It’s a noninvasive alternative route to your bloodstream. Immunotherapy can be effective with a variety of allergies but guards best against pet dander, bee stings, mold, dust mites, and pollen.

Are allergy exams and shots safe?

Allergy exams and shots are safe for most men, women, and children; consult Dr. Becker about risks.

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