The Allergy Center of Augusta ENT
The physicians of Augusta ENT have been providing the premier care for allergic patients in the CSRA for more than 30 years. That standard of excellence continues today as we test and treat patients every day in both of our state-of-the-art allergy clinics.
All of our physicians are experts in allergy and several have completed additional training and testing to become Fellows of the American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy. Each year the doctors at Augusta ENT have thousands of visits from patients who suffer from allergic problems. The conditions we treat include allergic rhinitis (hay fever, seasonal allergies), urticaria (hives) and mild asthma. The basic premise of these conditions is that the body over-reacts to harmless stimuli in the environment, like dust or pollen for example, as though they are harmful (like bacteria or viruses). This causes the release of chemicals in the body, such as histamine, that lead to the development of symptoms like congestion and runny nose. For patients whose symptoms are not well-controlled with medications the next step is to undergo allergy testing. Depending on several factors, this takes one of three forms.
Testing and shot administration are offered in our Evans, Augusta and Aiken locations. Shot hours are at the top of this page. Some patients may qualify to receive their shots in another, more conveniently located physician's office or even at home. Ask your provider what option is best for you.
Allergy Testing and Treatment
We make every effort to provide a relaxing atmosphere for our patients
who choose to get their allergy care at Augusta ENT.
This is the oldest and simplest form of allergy testing, originating in the 19th century. The test is still valid today and is used primarily as a screening test, often times by primary care physicians. In this test a device with several sharp prongs is dipped in a liquid with a specific allergen in it. The prongs are then pushed into the skin to introduce the substance just into the surface layer of the skin. This allows the doctor to know what a patient is allergic to, but not necessarily how strongly they react.
The second form of testing that we use when skin testing is not possible, is a blood test called RAST. This checks the blood for immune molecules that react to certain allergens and allows us to indirectly gauge a patient’s response to those substances.
The most frequently used, and most accurate, method of allergy testing is interdermal skin testing. This involves our highly trained nurses placing small amounts of many common allergens underneath the skin. This allows us to determine what allergens affect a patient and to what degree.
- The test usually takes 60-90 minutes and is performed in the comfort of the allergy department; you should be off all antihistamines (benadryl, zyrtec, claritin, allegra, pepcid, etc) for at least one week. You may not be tested if you are taking a beta blocker or your lung function is poor from COPD or asthma
- The test can be performed on adults and children down to age 5. Most people tolerate the testing quite well, but in some cases your physician may offer a prescription for a numbing skin cream to be applied to your upper, outer arms one hour prior to the test.
- Our office will make every attempt to provide you with the most accurate estimate of the cost of testing and treatment before testing is performed.
Treatment of Allergies
- Treatment options include environmental controls, medications, allergy immunotherapy in the form of shots or sublingual drops*â€‹
- Outcomes from allergy immunotherapy (shots or drops) are excellent, with 80-90% of patients satisfied with their final results
- Home allergy shots or shots given in a primary care provider's office are an option for some patients. Ask your allergy nurse and physician about which option is right for you
After testing, patients receive extensive counseling from highly trained nurses
and physicians in the comfort of the same office.
Once a patient’s allergic disease has been defined, a patient is then ready to begin immunotherapy, commonly referred to as allergy shots. This is a series of injections that, over time, will lead the body to stop overreacting to harmless stimuli and thus stop the annoying and debilitating symptoms of allergic disease.
3 Musts of Allergy Shots
- â€‹Must have an epinephrine autoinjector (i.e. Epipen) with you at all times in case of immediate or delayed reaction to the shot. Follow this link to learn how to use the Epipen.
- Must be consistent with immunotherapy in order to realize the full benefits
- Must not use immunotherapy if you start a beta blocker (often used to treat heart problems or glaucoma). Notify our allergy department if you have started a beta blocker since you last saw your allergist
The Alcat test is a lab based immune stimulation test in which patient's white blood cells are challenged with various substances including foods, additives, colorings, chemicals, medicinal herbs, functional foods, molds and pharmaceutical compounds. The patient's unique set of responses help to identify substances that may trigger potentially harmful immune system reactions.
Click here to learn more about food intolerance
Each test done through Augusta ENT has access to a 30 minute post test review by telephone with a nutritionist. In addition, each test result comes with a 52 page booklet titled "Understanding Your Alcat Test Results." Click here to seen an example of test results.
* Sublingual allergy immunotherapy drops (SLIT) are not presently approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and therefore are not covered by most health insurance policies. This treatment form is offered with the patient's acknowledgement and acceptance of this disclaimer and once payment is made out of pocket.