You can develop an allergy to a variety of normally harmless substances (food, insects, pollen, medications, or even latex) which are known as allergens. An allergy develops when your immune system (your body’s defense mechanism against foreign substances) mistakes one of these normally harmless substances and reacts as if the allergen is harmful.
We provide allergy testing, allergy treatment with medication or immunotherapy through allergy drops as well as allergen avoidance tips to help you effectively manage:
Childhood Allergies and Difficulty Breathing
Seasonal and Perennial Allergic Rhinitis
Chronic Sinusitis (Rhinosinusitis)
Adult Onset Allergies
When combined with your detailed personal medical history, allergy testing assists us in identifying the specific allergens that trigger your allergic reactions.
During your allergy test, we will use what’s called a “Scratch Allergy Skin Test” to test over 50 of the most common environmental and household allergens — all without the use of any needles! Scratch Allergy Skin Tests are more convenient and accurate than ever before. And the low to no pain factor of this particular type allergy test easy to administer on either adults or children.
- First, we’ll clean and examine the area of your skin we’ve selected to use for the Scratch Allergy Skin Test, usually on your forearm or back.
- Then, we’ll use a pen to mark and label seperate testing areas before introducing a small amount of each antigen (the substances you may be allergic to) into your skin.
- Next, we’ll use a small plastic probe to gently prick or scratch the outer layer of your skin, which will allow a tiny amount of the antigen solution to enter into your skin, just below the surface.
- Many suspected allergens are tested at the same time (our standard allergy test includes over 50 antigens), and if you are allergic to any one of these antigens the test area will display a slight redness, some swelling and potentially even itching at the test spot.
- After 15-20 minutes we’ll then re-examine the entire area of your skin we’ve selected to use for the Scratch Allergy Skin Test and we’ll then measure the degree to which each antigen test spot is affected to determine the severity of your allergic reaction to each antigen.
Scratch testing is generally not painful. The scratching on the surface of the skin feels similar to a fingernail scratch. It’s not a shot, there’s no needles involved and the pricking / scratching won’t cause you bleed.
However, positive reactions can cause annoying itching red bumps which look and feel similarly like a mosquito bite. But any allergic reaction (any redness, itching or bumps) are usually gone in just a few short minutes or hours.
Skin testing is fast! Positive reactions usually appear within 20 minutes. Sometimes however – a positive reaction can be delayed – with redness and swelling actually occurring several hours after your Scratch Allergy Skin Test.
Any delayed allergic reaction usually disappears in 24 to 48 hours, but should be reported to back to our office.
- Asthma inhalers (inhaled steroids and bronchodilators), leukotriene antagonists (e.g. Singulair, Accolate) and oral theophylline (Theo-Dur,T-Phyl, Uniphyl, Theo-24, etc.) do not interfere with skin testing and should be used as prescribed.
- Most drugs do not interfere with skin testing, but make certain that your ENT Physician and Nurse know about every drug you are currently taking (bring a list if necessary).
- You Have Unstable Asthma
- You Are Taking Beta Blockers
- You Are Pregnant
- Please wear a short sleeve shirt or blouse.
- Please do not wear bracelets or watches to the appointment.
- Do not wear any lotions on your arms or back the day of testing.
Your immune system’s overreaction to allergens releases histamine to produce your allergy symptoms – which can range in severity from mild to life threatening.
Common allergy symptoms that affect your ears, nose or throat can include:
- Stuffy nose, runny nose, or sneezing a lot
- Itchy or red eyes, sore throat, or itching of the throat or ears
- Waking up at night or trouble sleeping, which can lead to daytime sleepiness
- Mucus dripping down the back of the throat, otherwise known as post nasal drip
- Pressure in sinuses – which can be located in your nose, cheeks or forehead
For some people, allergies can also cause asthma symptoms:
- Wheezing or noisy breathing
- Shortness of breath or a tight feeling in the chest
Many people first experience allergies when they are children or young adults, but allergies can also develop later in life as well.
Seasonal allergies result from exposure to airborne substances that only appear during certain times of the year, like the spring or fall.
- Pollens from trees, grasses or weeds
- Mold spores, which grow when the weather is humid, wet or damp
Year-round (perennial) allergies result from exposure to airborne substances that are present throughout the year.
- Insects, such as dust mites and cockroaches
- Animals, such as cats and dogs
Most seasonal allergy sufferers usually just need to “survive” through a peak allergy season, like spring or fall. But our balmy winter temperatures here in sunny Phoenix, Arizona rarely drop below freezing – which allows certain trees, weeds, and grasses the ability to pollinate year-round.
The annual “Allergy Capitals Report” from the Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America regularly lists Phoenix as one of their top 100 most challenging places to live with allergies in the United States.
In an allergy study conducted by Quest Diagnostics in 2011, Phoenix topped the list of the worst cities for people with ragweed allergy (and with more than a dozen native ragweed species in the Arizona there is no shortage of ragweed pollen in the air).
As a general rule, certain pollens are worse during different seasons of the year.
- Common trees in the Phoenix area like Juniper, Cedar, Olive & Ash pollinate during the late winter and spring.
- Grasses, like Bermuda and Rye, tend to be most active in the spring and summer in the Phoenix metro area.
- Generally, weeds in the Phoenix area tend to pollinate in late summer and fall.
- Additionally, people with certain mold allergies may notice their symptoms spike with the onset of monsoon season here in Arizona.
Unlike most allergy medications — which only temporarily treat your allergy symptoms — Allergen Immunotherapy actually addresses the underlying root cause of your allergic reaction which produces the troubling allergy symptoms you experience.
Allergy drops are a form of Allergen Immunotherapy – similar to allergy shots, but without the need for weekly doctor’s office visits to receive painful injections. Taking allergy drops is simple, easy and painfree – which makes this particular type of Allergy Immunotherapy treatment typically something you can take on your own in the comfort of your own home or even out and about while you’re on the go.
Allergy drops, one of two types of available Sublingual Immunotherapy (SLIT), are made of a glycerin solution containing the all natural extracts of many common allergens. Allergy drops are placed under your tongue where the allergens contained within are then absorbed into your bloodstream. Over time, with continued use, your exposure to these allergens allows your body to gradually build a stronger immunity to these allergens – which in turn decreases the overreaction of your body’s immune system.
Sublingual Immunotherapy (SLIT) is a newer method treating allergies, and while allergy drops are not yet FDA approved in the U.S., this method of Allergen Immunotherapy is commonly used throughout Europe and other parts of the world.
- Allergen Immunotherapy builds your body’s own immunity using all natural antigens, providing you with long lasting allergy relief results
- Avoid the hassle of weekly doctor’s office visits to receive painful allergy shots
- Painless under the tongue drops you can take at home or on the go
- Less age restrictive than other allergy treatments – safe for children to seniors
- Protects against most common allergens worldwide, not just a few local ones
Avoiding or removing the allergens that trigger your allergic reactions from your living spaces is the most helpful activity you can personally do to minimize your allergy symptoms.
- Start taking your allergy medication 1 to 2 weeks before the time of year when your allergies are the worst. This simple change may decrease the allergy symptoms you experience.
- Effective medications to treat your allergy symptoms include: OTC nasal saline sprays, nasal cromolyn, oral antihistamines, prescription nasal steroid and nasal antihistamines, leukotriene modifiers, and allergy eye drops.
- Consider exercising indoors on very high-pollen days or when it is very windy outside.
- You should also pay attention to the air quality. While common irritants like dust, smoke, strong scents and weather changes aren’t allergens, they are common irritants which may exacerbate your symptoms.
- Avoid the plants you are allergic to. If you are wondering what flowers you can plant in your garden, check out some of these low pollen garden ideas — specifically selected for Arizona.
- Move your shower to the end of the day as opposed to the morning. This easy step will help you rinse pollen off of the skin and hair before bed.
- Never line dry clothing outdoors on high pollen days, as pollen will stick to your linens, towels, and clothes.
- Use nasal saline rinses to flush allergens out of your nose.
- Wear a dust/pollen mask if you need to be outside when your allergies are bad.
- You can also use gloves when doing gardening and avoid touching your face.
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat to prevent pollens from landing on your head and in your hair while outside.
- Wear sunglasses, especially on windy days, to help block pollens from getting into or around your eyes and eyelids.
- Use cool eye compresses to help reduce unwanted eye allergy symptoms.
- You can also use an eye rinse/saline to rinse at the end of the day or after you have spent time outside.
- Reduce or eliminate your hair gel (and similar products). These products can cause the hair to the sticky and make you a “pollen magnet” during peak allergy season.
- Again, consider rinsing / washing your hair at the end of the day.
- At home and when driving keep the windows closed.
- Set your air conditioner on recirculate and avoid using window fans to help keep pollens out.
- Clean your air filters frequently during your peak allergy season.
- You can also try an allergen air purifier with a HEPA filter — just keep in mind this needs to be running constantly and generally will only filter the air in the room its located in.
- Vacuum frequently and try use a vacuum with a HEPA filter.
- If you have a dust mite allergy —
- Try using a special mattress or pillow cover, and launder your bed linens frequently in hot water.
- Have your carpets and curtains cleaned frequently.
- Switch to a hard surface flooring like wood or tile — try keep carpet out of the bedroom if possible.
- Use wet mops and wet dust cloths when cleaning, as opposed to dry ones.
- If you are sensitive to weed pollens — watch out for melons, bananas, chamomile tea, and even Echinacea.
- Phoenix does not have an accurate pollen counter, so pay attention to your pollen allergy symptoms.
- Log your allergy symptoms in a health diary so you can better understand out what your specific allergic reaction triggers are and when they seem to affect you the worst.
I really like Dr. Lykins!
I have visited Dr. Lykins 2 or 3 times, and he is really kind and friendly. I will have him as my primary doctor for nose / allergy issues. No doubt.
Dr. Lykins was my final hope after suffering several years from previous misdiagnoses. This wonderful, patient, man gave me a life that is now livable, but most importantly proved that “the cream always rises to the top” the best is to be tasted and God gave me the chance to taste the best. So my friends, seek comfort and see this great doctor.
The most professional, caring and knowledgeable doctors I have seen in all my 68 years.
I have never met a doctor that cares so very much about the care he gives his patient. I was in management for 26 years and if I had to give Dr. Lykins an overall rating it would 150%!Our ENT Patient
Professional, Calm and Welcoming
Dr. Bailey never gave me the impression that my appointment time was limited. He was thorough in explaining his diagnosis and did not push me into making decisions on the spot, but rather gave me time to evaluate my options. He and his staff were professional, calm and welcoming.Our ENT Patient
Dr. Bailey Is The Best
Out of all the doctors I have ever seen, Dr. Bailey has been the best. The first time I saw him he knew right away what my issue was. Every time I see Dr. Bailey he is always extremely nice. Same for the staff at the front desk.Our ENT Patient