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Knowing When It’s Time for Testing

“The overall goal of allergy testing is to give chronic allergy sufferers relief… free from symptoms and with the tools to enable them to have the best quality of life.” – Dr. Thomas Tamura, Otolaryngologist Midwest Ear, Nose & Throat

carefree-child-enjoyment-220455The word allergy is synonymous with hypersensitivity. Being allergic basically means that your immune system works too well – and you react to substances in the environment that don’t affect others. Allergies can cause a myriad of problems, such as nasal congestion, fatigue, itchy and watery eyes, runny nose and recurring sinus infections.

Common allergens include dust mites, molds and pollens such as grass, ragweed and trees. People may also have sensitivities to certain foods, bacteria, animal dander, insects, chemicals and dyes. Sensitivity or allergic reactions can develop after repeated exposure to a substance. Often individuals may also be sensitive to more than one allergen and can develop new sensitivities at any time. 

Allergy testing is a precise method to find out what types of allergens may be adversely affecting you or causing your allergic reactions and symptoms. They can detect potential dangers in the things you eat, touch or breathe. As spring approaches and allergies begin to flair, how does one know when it’s time to draw the line and seek professional help?

Dr. Thomas Tamura, an ENT physician at Midwest Ear, Nose & Throat, brings years of experience to the table and offers tips for sinus sufferers questioning when to seek medical testing. “If you’re always getting sick with symptoms such as nasal congestion and drainage, it may be wise to schedule an appointment,” Tamura says. “Allergies can change gradually over time,” he adds. “Sometimes sufferers get so used to the symptoms that they don’t realize how problematic it has become and that help is available.”

If you have already tried over-the-counter-medications and your symptoms persist, Dr. Tamura recommends allergy testing. “As allergy specialists, we make sure to get the patients’ medical history to help determine what type of test should be performed,” he said. “Most often, simple skin or blood tests are sufficient in determining a patient’s best treatment plan.”

While the methods of allergy testing are different, the goal is the same for skin testing or blood testing. Both tests can detect the presence of an allergy antibody specific to the allergens being tested for. During skin testing, a small amount of the possible allergens are applied to your arm or back with a small skin prick. Your doctor may also draw your blood and send it to a lab to test for common allergies. You should talk with your physician to see which method is best for you.

The good news is that it’s never too late to seek treatment. With the aid of skilled
professionals who specialize in treating allergies, a patient can get set up with a
customized treatment plan for their individual conditions. “The overall goal is to give
chronic allergy sufferers relief.. free from symptoms and with the tools to enable them to have the best quality of life.”

Written by Jennifer Dumke, Sioux Falls Woman Magazine


Midwest Ear, Nose & Throat
2315 West 57th Street  •  Sioux Falls, South Dakota 57108  •  605-336-3503  •  Toll-free 888-336-3503  •  Fax 605-336-6010