Allergy

The Allergy & Asthma Center of Tuscaloosa is the only allergy center in West Alabama with physicians certified by the American Board of Allergy and Immunology. We provide evaluation and treatment for the following conditions. 

Non-allergic Rhinitis

Non-allergic rhinitis is a disorder that affects many people. Nasal obstruction, over-the-counter medications, chemical irritants, smoke, and weather changes are the most frequent causes of this rhinitis. There is typically little sneezing or itching with non-allergic rhinitis. 

Allergic Rhinitis

Allergic rhinitis (hayfever) is a common disorder affecting millions of people of all ages. This disorder is often caused by an allergic reaction to common allergens including pet dander, house dust, and indoor and outdoor molds. The usual symptoms of allergic rhinitis include runny nose, congestion, sneezing and itchy, watery eyes. Our goal is to stop these symptoms by the coordinated use of avoidance, medications and immunotherapy, if needed. 

Insect Allergies

The severity of an insect reaction varies from person to person. A normal reaction will result in pain, swelling or redness confined to the sting site. The most serious reaction to an insect sting is anaphylaxis. Symptoms of an allergic reaction or anaphylaxis may include one or more of the following: 

  • Hives, itching or swelling in area other than the sting site
  • Tightness in the chest and difficulty breathing
  • Hoarse voice or swelling of the tongue or throat
  • Dizziness or sharp drop of blood pressure
  • Unconsciousness or cardiac arrest

If you have had these symptoms after a sting, testing and treatment may save your life. Treatment to reduce sensitivity decreases the chances of a reaction by 98%. 

What are the specific types of allergy tests?

Scratch or puncture test - These tests are done on the surface of the skin. A tiny amount of allergen is scratched across or lightly pricked into the skin. If you have an allergy, the specific allergens that you are allergic to will cause a chain reaction to begin in your body.

Intradermal test - This test is related to the scratch or puncture test, but is slightly more sensitive. It involves injecting a tiny amount of allergen under the skin, usually on the upper arms. Your allergist may do this test when your reaction to the scratch test cannot be clearly determined. 

Blood (RAST) test - Sometimes your allergist will do a blood test, called RAST (radioallergosorbent) test. Since this test involves drawing blood, it costs more, and the results are not available as rapidly as skin tests. RAST tests are generally used only in cases in which skin tests can not be perfomed, such as on patients taking certain medications, or those with skin conditions that may interfere with skin testing. 

Challenge tests - These tests are done only if specific allergy testing is not available, and the patient needs the food or medication to which they may be allergice. The test involves having the patient inhale or swallow a very small amount of the suspected allergen, such as milk or an antibiotic. If there is no reaction, the dose may be slowly increased. Since challenge tests may induce severe allergic reactions, they are only done when absolutely necessary, and must be closely supervised by an allergist.