Allergy & Immunology

Helping You Live with Asthma and Allergies

Allergic reactions are one of the most common chronic health issues in the world. Allergies can range from annoying to life-threatening. Anyone who has had seasonal allergies knows they can certainly make you miserable, but you don’t have to suffer.

Sanford Allergy and Immunology can help you get a handle on your allergies, asthma, or immune system conditions. We’ll help identify what triggers your allergic reactions and create a plan to relieve your symptoms. Allergists and immunologists are doctors who specialize in diagnosing and treating allergies.

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Sanford Health Allergy & Immunology knows that allergies can seriously affect your quality of life. They don’t have to. We have a dedicated team of experts who specialize in diagnosing and treating allergies, asthma and immune system conditions in children and adults.

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Sanford Health Allergy & Immunology serves Sioux Falls, Fargo, Bismarck and the surrounding areas.

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When Should I See an Allergist?

Severe allergies can cause a dangerous autoimmune reaction called anaphylaxis. The throat may swell, restricting the airway and causing a sudden drop in blood pressure. You can stop this reaction with an epinephrine autoinjector.

While you should certainly see an allergist if you have allergies that cause anaphylactic shock, you can visit an allergist in more minor cases as well.

You may live with sneezing and wheezing during pollen season, but you don’t have to. Seeing an allergist for reactions to mold, dust and pollen can greatly improve your quality of life.

What to Expect at an Allergist Appointment

When you go to an allergist for help with your allergies, they will start by obtaining your medical history and performing a physical exam. They might also perform tests to identify what you’re allergic to.

How Do Allergists Test for Allergies?

The types of tests your provider may use to identify allergies are the skin test, blood test and the challenge test.

The skin test can be done in two ways. The first way is when a small amount of allergen is put on the skin. That area of skin is then scratched or pricked. If you are allergic to the allergen, it will produce a small bump. Another way of doing the skin test is when an allergist injects a small amount of allergen under the skin. The advantage of skin testing is that the results are available right after the testing is done.

Blood tests for allergies may be used if you cannot tolerate a skin test. If you have recently had a severe allergic reaction or have a skin condition, your healthcare provider may choose to use a blood test to identify your allergies.

The challenge test involves breathing in or ingesting a very small amount of allergen. A healthcare provider then watches you closely to wait for an allergic reaction.

How are Allergies Treated?

Treatment for you allergies depends on factors, including:

  • Severity of symptoms
  • Type of symptoms
  • Age
  • General state of health

Allergy shots, also called immunotherapy, and medications can be effective against allergies.

Allergies in Children

Allergies affect people regardless of age, but treatment for allergies depends heavily on your child’s age and symptoms.

Treatments for allergies in children is similar to treatments for allergies in adults. If you are concerned about your child’s allergic reactions, you should visit their primary care provider or an allergist who is familiar with your child’s medical history.

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New Patient FAQ

What will happen at my first appointment?

The physician will meet with you to ask questions about your medical history and provide a physical exam. You will be asked about your symptoms, current medications, the timing of your symptoms, and any previous diagnoses or treatments you may have received. You and the physician will decide if further testing is needed to clarify what you are allergic to, how well your lungs are functioning, or if other problems are present.

What is an allergy test and how long does it take?

We test allergies using skin testing. This involves using small amounts of allergens on your skin and look for small raised bumps to develop. There are two methods of skin testing that we do in our office: prick testing and intradermal testing. Each test will take about 45 minutes and is done on your back and arms. We typically start with a prick test, and those results will show if we need to do further testing with an intradermal test. Please plan two hours for the skin testing appointment to ensure we have enough time should you need both types of testing.

Can my allergies change over time?

Yes. It is possible to have an allergy to something, then over time, your body may develop its own immunity to that particular antigen. You may also become exposed to new allergens that cause new allergies to develop.

What happens if my allergy test is negative but I still have symptoms?

Even if your allergy test is negative, we still want to help manage and treat the symptoms you are having. Having an allergy test helps eliminate certain factors that can contribute to the sinus allergy symptoms you are experiencing. This allows us to focus on other causes such as sinus problems or prescribe new medications to help treat your symptoms.

Can you test for food allergies?

We can offer some blood testing for food allergies, but do not do skin testing, food challenge testing, or provide treatment for food allergies.

Can you help me with hives, rashes and swelling?

There are many types of allergies that patients can experience. Sanford Sinus and Allergy Center specializes in allergy symptoms caused by environmental allergens. These cause symptoms of sneezing, runny nose, sinus congestion or itchy eyes to list a few. Hives, rashes and swelling are more commonly symptoms of other types of allergies such as food, medication or stinging insects.

Do I need a referral from my doctor?

No. If you are experiencing sinus allergy symptoms, you may request an appointment. A nurse will call you prior to scheduling an appointment to discuss your symptoms and review medications to be sure you will benefit from sinus allergy testing.

How old does my child need to be to have allergy testing?

Children need to be age 5 or older for allergy testing.

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