What is an Allergy?

An allergy is the body's immune system having an exaggerated response to a substance. An allergic response can range from mild to severe and can be triggered by a variety of substances such as:

  • Environmental sources (dust or pollens from grasses, flowers, trees)
  • Foods (wheat, dairy, nuts, etc.)
  • Chemical substances (latex)
  • Fungi (molds)
  • Animals (dander from cats, dogs, horses, etc.)

Some of the common symptoms of ear, nose, and throat allergies include:

  • sneezing
  • runny nose
  • nasal itching and rubbing
  • watery eyes
  • postnasal drip
  • head congestion
  • hearing loss
  • dizziness
  • recurrent sinus infections and/or ear infections, frequent throat clearing

What's Next

After a consultation with Dr. Oliver and a review of the history of your symptoms, Dr. Oliver may recommend allergy testing. In our office we test for several of the most prevalent indoor and outdoor allergens found in the Rochester, NY area. We test for both indoor and outdoor allergens, including: common weeds, grasses, trees, molds, animal danders, and dust mites.

Allergy testing can be done to identify the specific causes of your allergy using skin tests. The test will let us know what you are allergic to, and the degree of your sensitivity. The test consists of prick testing and a series of intradermal (just under the skin) injections. We test using small amounts of common allergens at various concentrations. We follow the methods and techniques endorsed and supported by the American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy. The allergy test takes about 2 hours to complete.

Prior to allergy testing, please review the list of pre-appointment instructions found below. During your initial allergy consultation we will review your current medications, as there are some medications that may interfere with allergy testing and treatment.

Pre-Appointment Instructions for Allergy Testing

  1. Please DO NOT take any antihistamines for at least 7 days prior to your testing. A complete list of antihistamines is not possible to provide, but common antihistamines are listed below:
    Brand Name
    Dimetapp (some types)
    Over the counter cough or cold agents
    Generic Name
    Sleep Aids:
    Advil PM
    Tylenol PM
    Any other sleeping pill/sleep aid
  2. If you are uncertain about any medications you are taking, please call our office at (585)-342-2080.
  3. Do not use Vitamin C for 10 days prior to testing. Orange juice and fortified beverages are okay to use. There is generally not enough Vitamin C in this to affect your testing.
  4. If you are currently receiving immunotherapy, you should NOT receive a shot or use allergy drops for two weeks prior to skin testing.
  5. Please wear a short sleeve shirt on the day of your testing.

Location for Allergy Testing and Treatment:
Our allergy office is located across the hall from our ENT office in Suite 23.

What happens after allergy testing has been completed?
Once allergy testing has been completed, Dr. Oliver will review your test results. Allergy treatment is based on your history of symptoms, your test results and your allergic situation.

What treatment options are available?

  1. Avoidance of Allergens – Allergy symptoms will improve if you can minimize exposure to the offending allergens. Therefore, the first and foremost part of treatment is making changes in your home/work environment to decrease exposure. We will provide you with suggestions on how to accomplish this.
  2. Allergy Medications – If you have done all that you can do to decrease exposure and symptoms persist, you may need to take supplemental medication to control symptoms. There are many types of antihistamines, decongestants, mucous thinners, and nasal sprays.
  3. Allergy Injections – If you find that you have to take medication on a daily basis or the medications are not working, allergy injections may be warranted. If symptoms are making it difficult for you to function on a daily basis or symptoms are interfering with your sleep or causing frequent infections, you will likely be offered immunotherapy.
  4. If you are allergic to airborne molds, you will also be encouraged to decrease the mold-ferment foods in your diet. These foods are mushrooms, aged cheeses, vinegars, beer, wine, and yeast.
  5. If you smoke, we strongly recommend that you quit. You will not obtain the full benefit from allergy treatment if you continue to smoke.
  6. If food allergies are suspected, you may be asked to complete an elimination diet so that we can determine what foods are most likely causing your symptoms.

Allergy Injections (Immunotherapy)
Medications treat symptoms, immunotherapy treats the problem. Immunotherapy strengthens the immune system and decreases the need for medications. The allergy injections will be started at the highest safe dosage, shortening the time required for the benefits to become apparent. The injections may produce visible improvement within a few weeks of starting therapy. The shots must be continued for three to five years to give more permanent relief. Dr. Oliver will monitor your progress throughout the course of your treatment.