Skin Prick Testing is the primary tool used in our clinic. It’s a simple procedure that, when done correctly and read by the specialized doctors, can be very useful in the diagnosis of allergy to specific food or environment allergen. It is used for drug allergy less effectively. The test involves identifying the substances causing the allergic symptoms. Then a drop of the substance in solution is applied to the skin. A small plastic pin is used to scratch the surface of the skin. After 15-20 minutes the area is read for induration and redness. Although highly sensitive and specific it must be noted that the test needs specialized preparation and expert reading to make the right and appropriate conclusions
When there is doubt about the symptoms, we can help clarify the diagnosis. Asthma can present in different ways in children and adults. Some symptoms such as cough, or wheeze, can be caused by many other problems, not asthma related. The nose, sinuses, stomach acidity and even immunodeficiency can cause or contribute to these symptoms. Our expert opinion and testing can give you better understanding of your symproms and diagnosis.
PULMONARY FUNCTION TESTING (Spirometry)
This is a test to measure breathing capacity. Spirometry is a very important tool, used in diagnosing asthma and managing it, as well as other conditions. It requires more cooperation by the patient and ability to learn the blowing technique into the machine. Hence it is usually done appropriately in older children and adults.
ALLERGY, IMMUNOLOGY & GENERAL EDUCATION
Our dedicated staff will provide you with specialized teaching about your allergy. How to manage them, avoid their triggers and treat them. When necessary we may schedule a teaching session to answer all your questions more thoroughly.
This is a form of treatment for Allergy. Its works on the principle of tolerance. By providing small measured doses of the substance (Allergen) causing the allergic reaction, we allow the body, immune system, to adapt to it. So that the next time the patient is exposed to the substance (Allergen) there will be no symptoms. This measured dose can be given under the tongue in daily doses and for many years. The dose is just enough to result in tolerance but not enough to cause an allergic reaction. Over time the dose is increased allowing the body to tolerate the antigen (become desensitized).
This form of treatment is usually used for treating asthma and allergic-rhino-conjunctivitis. In the case of Asthma, immunotherapy is the only treatment available that is proven to reduce the risk of developing adult asthma.
Immunotherapy may be indicated by your doctors for treatment of asthma and allergic rhinitis. This will require the following:
- The disease is IgE mediated (i.e. Positive skin prick test and/or serum specific IgE)
- The symptoms correlate with the test.
- Symptoms not adequately relieved by environmental changes.
- Symptoms not adequately relieved by medication.
- Failure to tolerate medication or take them.
- In the case of Asthma, it should not be severe or uncontrolled.
- An effective allergen extract should be available (e.g. grass pollen, ragweed pollen, house dust mite, or cat dander)
DRUG CHALLENGES & DESENSITIZATION
A drug challenge is the last step in confirming an allergy to a certain drug. A through detailed history and additional testing such as Skin Test is essential before considering this option. After confirming the probability of a drug related reaction by your doctor, he will discuss the need for a challenge and possible alternatives. A specific prescription of the medicine is given with close follow-up. In rare cases where there is no alternative to the medicine needed a desensitization protocol maybe suggested. This will allow gradual acceptance of the specific drug for as long it is taken. However if the drug is discontinued for a period of time, the protocol need to be repeated to avoid a reaction
In some cases and with the advice of your physician, some food challenges can be conducted in clinic. This can only be done in clinic with available emergency treatments available. There is a small risk of developing an allergic reaction with the challenge. Thus, it is very important to discuss this option with your allergist. Decision to go ahead with the challenge will depend on many things. This includes the child age, type of food, and importance of this food in the regular diet of the family. Specialized tests are necessary before attempting the challenge. A blind food challenge is the ultimate test to decide if the food suspected is a true allergy.
SPECIFIC BLOOD TESTING
Specific allergy testing is requested and interpreted in clinic. Specific IgE (ImmunoCAP) for foods, environmental allergens and others, are often used to help specify a true IgE mediated allergy. Other examples of tests include routine bloods, eosinophil counts and specific immune evaluations.
Vaccines are an important component of the general health of children and adults. Some vaccines are routine and provided by the Ministry of Health in Kuwait. Other vaccines are only available in the private sector. Examples of this includes the Varicella vaccine for chickenpox and the Rotavirus vaccine. The influenza vaccine is also available. Vaccines can occasionally cause some side effects. While others may cause allergic reaction because of their content of medicine or food protein. Using special testing, in addition to the history, we are able to make advice regarding these vaccines. In addition vaccination responses can be used to assess the individual immune system.