Allergy testing essentially entails having a blood or skin exam to determine which specific allergen or substance triggers an allergic reaction in an individual. Here at Everyone's ENT & Sinus Center in San Antonio, TX, she will decide which allergy testing methods are best suited to your specific circumstances. Meanwhile, here’s what you can generally expect during testing:
Skin Allergy Tests
The most common test, the skin prick test, typically takes under an hour at our San Antonio office and involves the following steps:
- Disinfecting the testing site, typically on the arm or back, using alcohol.
- Placing drops of various allergens on the skin, approximately an inch or two apart to allow for testing of multiple substances all at once.
- Pricking the skin underneath each drop using a sterilized needle.
- Examining the pricks after 15 minutes to check whether wheals, itchy, raised, and red patches, have formed. If so, this indicates that you’re possibly allergic to the specific allergen on that pricked portion.
In the event that you didn’t receive a positive reaction to the skin prick test but your doctor still suspects that you may be allergic to an allergen you’ve already been tested for, we may suggest intradermal allergy skin testing during your follow-up appointment.
Depending on certain factors, your doctor may also perform a skin patch test instead of a skin prick test. This allergy skin test usually involves placing patches that contain allergen doses on your back. You’ll need to wear these patches for a day or two, careful not to get them wet to ensure that they stay on until your follow-up appointment where your doctor will check for positive allergic reactions.
Blood Allergy Testing
Allergy testing with the use of blood usually involves these steps:
- Wrapping an elastic around the upper arm for stopping blood flow and cleaning the injection area with alcohol.
- Placing a needle into your vein and connecting a tube to it for blood collection.
- Applying a cotton or gauze pad over the injection site after removing the needle, applying pressure to it, and then topping it off with a clean bandage.
Your blood sample will then be placed on a special paper and sent out for inspection to figure out whether there are any antibodies to an allergen that you’re being tested for. If there are certain antibodies, it might indicate that you’re allergic to a particular allergen.
If You Have Any Questions on Allergy Testing, Don’t Hesitate to Call Us
Dial (210) 647-3838 to set an appointment with Dr. Christine Gilliam here at Everyone's ENT & Sinus Center in San Antonio, TX.
Most people who have been diagnosed with sinusitis are put on home remedies and conservative treatments to help manage their symptoms. However, is these treatments don’t ease their symptoms in three months, the condition will be considered chronic sinusitis that only ENT doctors can treat.
ENT doctors specialize in issues that involve the ears, throat, and nose. If your symptoms are so severe that they are negatively affecting your quality of life, your ENT doctor here at Everyone's ENT & Sinus Center in San Antonio, TX, Dr. Christine Gilliam, might recommend sinus surgery.
Before Turning to Sinus Surgery
People who don’t respond well to medical treatments for sinus surgery don’t necessarily need to undergo sinus surgery. However, those whose CT scans show clear signs of persistent disease are usually ideal candidates for the procedure. Prior to turning to sinus surgery, your ENT doctor will first put you on maximum medical therapy, which may entail an extended course of steroid medications, antibiotics, and sinus irrigations.
If these medical treatments fail to work, your ENT doctor will recommend a CT scan. In the event that your scans show signs of chronic sinus disease or a sinus obstruction that only surgery could relieve, then your ENT doctor in San Antonio, TX, may suggest sinus surgery.
Common Reasons to Get Sinus Surgery
- Obvious symptoms of persistent sinusitis even after undergoing aggressive medical therapy
- Presence of sinus or nasal polyps
- Sinusitis due to a fungal infection
- Sinusitis that has spread to nearby bone
- Structural irregularities of the sinuses or nose
- Chronic sinus infections with HIV
- Sinus cancer
Sinus Surgery Types
Surgical procedures used for treating chronic sinusitis include functional endoscopic surgery, balloon sinuplasty, and open sinus surgery. The most commonly recommend sinus surgery is endoscopic sinus surgery. On the other hand, rare sinus tumors or certain kinds of aggressive fungal sinus infections respond better to external or traditional surgical procedures that involve incisions over the eyebrows or the gum line.
Your ENT doctor will be the one to decide which surgical approach will work best for your specific circumstances. To help ensure the best possible outcomes, you will need to work closely with your ENT doctor before and after the sinus surgery.
For More Details on Sinus Surgery, Give Us a Call
Contact Everyone's ENT & Sinus Center in San Antonio, TX, by calling (210) 647-3838 to arrange your appointment with Dr. Christine Gilliam.
Is Your Child Dealing With Recurrent Ear Infections?
Ear infections can be miserable, and when it comes to children the painful condition is distressingly common. Dr. Christine Gilliam at Everyone's ENT and Sinus Center in San Antonio, TX treats many pediatric patients for recurrent ear infections, and she can help put your child on the path to recovery as well.
What causes ear infections?
Ear infections occur when the Eustachian tube, which equalizes the middle ear, develops fluid or pressure buildup. This happens more frequently in babies, toddlers, and preschool-age children as their Eustachian tube is not yet fully sized and matured. In addition to the immaturity of the Eustachian tube, environmental factors such as exposure to secondhand smoke, allergies, sinus or bacterial infections can lead to a sinus infection. If your child is enrolled in day care or school, you may find they are quicker to develop contagious ear infections.
What can a pediatric ENT do for my child's ear infections?
At our San Antonio, TX office a pediatric ENT may recommend medicinal or surgical options for your child's ear infection, depending on the cause, severity or duration of the infection.
Prescription antibiotics are typically the first course of action for an ear infection, with the type, dosage and length of treatment determined on an individual basis. If your child is in need of more intensive treatment, your pediatric ENT may opt to surgically place pressure equalization tubes in your child's ears. This procedure involves putting your child under anesthesia while your pediatric ENT makes a small incision in the ear drum to drain out any built-up fluid and insert the tube. This process should take under 10 minutes, and your child will be able to return home right after.
The tube will likely remain in place up to a year, falling out on its own. During this time, your child will be seen by your pediatric ENT at our San Antonio, TX office every six months to monitor the tube and progress in treating the infection.
How effective are pressure equalization tubes?
Most pediatric patients will have lasting results with a single set of tubes, but more sets may be needed, especially if the tubes fall out before the ear infection has been remedied. You will want to schedule regular visits for your child with a pediatric ENT at our San Antonio, TX office to monitor their ear health.
If your child is suffering from persistent, painful ear infections, call Everyone's ENT and Sinus Center in San Antonio, TX at 210-647-3838.
No cold should last for weeks. Yet, you've had a runny nose, watery eyes and headaches for more days than you can count. Could you have an undiagnosed allergy? Here at Everyone's ENT & Sinus Center in San Antonio, TX, your otolaryngologist, Dr. Christine Gilliam, provides allergy testing to investigate your symptoms and get you on a treatment plan for lasting relief.
What are allergies?
Allergies are the immune system's overreaction to a substance that enters the body through the skin, respiratory system, or GI tract. In other words, allergens, or symptom triggers, are everywhere in the environment, ready to be breathed in, ingested, or touched.
Millions of Americans of all ages have allergies to one degree or another. Some allergies go silent for years, only to express themselves again with a change in living conditions, medication, or overall health. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America says that 200,000 Americans visit hospital ERs annually because of food allergies.
What are the symptoms?
Allergy symptoms vary, as do their intensity. Some reactions are so mild and transitory the sufferer does not notice them much. Others, such as anaphylactic shock in response to a bee sting, are so severe they are life-threatening. That's why Dr. Gilliam's team urges patients to undergo allergy testing if they, or their physicians, suspect they have undiagnosed allergies.
Common symptoms include:
- Watery eyes
- Facial numbness or tingling
- GI upset
How does your physician diagnose allergies?
Paying close attention to symptoms, their onset, severity, and what may relieve them is critical to allergy diagnosis and management. Common allergens are pet dander, plant molds, dust mites, pollen, shellfish, peanuts, and insect vectors. Household products, such as laundry detergent, often precipitate atopic dermatitis, an itchy, red skin rash.
Besides noting triggers, Dr. Gilliam uses allergy testing in her San Antonio office. Skin prick tests, which introduce a tiny amount of suspected allergen under the skin, are the most common diagnostic tools and are "read" by the doctor right in the office. Challenge tests involve ingesting a suspect substance such as a medication or food. Finally, blood work is a very accurate way to measure allergic responses. With results in hand, your ENT doctor will formulate a plan of trigger avoidance, oral medications, or immunotherapy (allergy shots or drops) to control your symptoms.
We can help
If you wish to feel and function better, get a handle on your allergies. Dr. Christine Gilliam at Everyone's ENT & Sinus Center helps you be in control. For more information or a consultation on allergy testing, contact her San Antonio office at (210) 647-3838.
If you suffer from repeat sinus infections, you know how frustrating and debilitating this problem is. At Everyone's ENT & Sinus Center in San Antonio, Dr. Christine Gilliam uses state-of-the-art balloon sinuplasty to relieve the symptoms of chronic sinusitis. The procedure achieves remarkable results, and patients experience practically immediate relief of symptoms.
Repeat sinus infections with their headache pain, fatigue and nasal stuffiness impact about 37 million Americans annually, say experts at Cedar-Sinai Medical Center. Missed work and school and generalized low function are common to sinus sufferers. Often, nasal sprays and antibiotics are stop-gap measures until the next round of symptoms begin.
What's the solution to chronic sinusitis? At Everyone's ENT & Sinus Center in San Antonio, Dr. Christine Gilliam has an innovative and effective way to manage and even eliminate the problem of chronic sinusitis. It's called balloon sinuplasty, a simple in-office procedure that opens sinus passages quickly.
How balloon sinuplasty works
After Dr. Gilliam reviews your symptoms and medically clears you for this procedure, she introduces local anesthetic to the nose. Then, the doctor introduces a very thin catheter into the nostril. The catheter is lighted and allows Dr. Gilliam to see the inside of the sinuses.
Then, she inflates a small balloon which is an integral part of the catheter. A saline wash rinses out any pus, mucous or other debris. Thus, the passage is opened and cleared, freeing you from the congestion and pressure of chronic sinusitis.
Afterwards, you can go home to rest for the balance of the day. Many people return to work and other normal activities the next day.
Amazingly, balloon sinuplasty produces little to no bleeding, leaving both hard and soft tissues inside the nose and sinuses intact. Of course, results vary from patient to patient, but most report freer breathing, far less congestion, fewer headaches and a greatly improved quality of life.
Find out more
At Everyone's ENT & Sinus Center in San Antonio, TX, balloon sinuplasty helps scores of people feel better and improves daily function and well-being. Why not find out more about this treatment? Call for a consultation with your board-certified otolaryngologist, Dr. Christine Gilliam: (210) 647-3838.
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