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Allergy Evaluation, Diagnosis and Treatment

At the Johns Hopkins Sinus Center, our specialist, Dr. Sandra Lin focuses on inhalant allergies; specifically those allergies caused by:

  • Dust mites
  • Pollen
  • Ragweed
  • Mold
  • Animal dander

As an expert of the ears, nose and throat, Dr. Lin is an expert in recognizing when certain conditions of the respiratory system may actually be caused by allergies. It is important to be treated by a doctor who has expertise and experience in diagnosing and treating allergies, as allergies can contribute to many other disorders such as sinusitis, ear infections and hoarseness.

Same Day Results

At the Sinus Center, a patient can expect to be seen for allergy testing and know their results within the same day. Exams will usually include:

  • A thorough clinical evaluation, including complete medical and family history, as allergies tend to have a genetic component.
  • Allergy testing: This is accomplished by skin testing in the office, where a small amount of several allergens are tested on the patient’s skin. Results are available 20 minutes after the test is placed. Individuals who are not candidates for skin testing can have blood tests for allergies.
  • A CT scan: Your doctor will use this imaging scan to look at your nasal airways and sinuses.
  • Endoscopy: Your doctor will use an endoscope carefully examine the inside of your nose to assess other possible conditions such as nasal polyps and sinusitis.

Allergy Treatment

Treatment options for allergies include avoidance of the offending allergens, medication and immunotherapy. There are two forms of immunotherapy currently in practice today that can modulate an allergic individual’s immune response and control symptoms. They include:

• Shots (injection immunotherapy)
• Oral drops (sublingual immunotherapy)

Dr. Sandra Lin is one of the only doctors in the area offering the convenience of sublingual allergy therapy, combined with the expertise of an academic sinus center of excellence.

Allergy Treatment

Allergy treatment encompasses different methods of treating and managing allergies, as allergy symptoms and chronic conditions may arise if allergies are left untreated.

Daily Medical Therapy

Medical therapy for allergies typically involves use of a prescription nasal steroid spray. Other useful medications include antihistamines, which can be in the form of pills, nasal spray or eye drops. Your doctor can work with you to find the optimal regimen of medications for symptom control.

Behavioral Modifications and Environmental Controls

In the case of managing allergies and allergy symptoms, patients should try to remove triggers from the environment. This may include cleaning for dust more frequently for those who are dust mite allergic and avoiding places where triggers are present in high volume. After allergy testing is complete and the doctor has identified the triggering allergens, your doctor can discuss other behavioral modifications that may be helpful in controlling allergy symptoms.

Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy is designed to build the body’s defenses toward the specific allergen or range of allergens the patient has sensitivity to. The trigger is introduced into the body in small quantities, so the body is stimulated to build up a better defense system. When undergoing immunotherapy, slightly larger quantities of the trigger are introduced, and the body produces a better defense. In this way, immunotherapy modulates the body into building a better defense against a trigger, such as pollen or ragweed. This treatment opton is usually administered in weekly injections.

Sublingual Immunotherapy

The Johns Hopkins Sinus Center is the only sublingual immunotherapy treatment center in the area. This option treats the root cause of many environmental allergies by exposing the body to very small doses of each patient's allergen in daily drops or tablets. Learn more about sublingual immunotherapy.