Allergy & Immunology
Allergy & Immunology

Respiratory Institute

Allergy & Immunology

  • Overview
  • Diagnosis & Treatment
  • Meet Our Team

Diagnosis & Treatment

The Respiratory Institute’s Allergy & Immunology Program offers a variety of cutting-edge techniques to diagnose and treat patients affected by allergic and immunologic conditions.

Diagnosis for Allergy & Immunology

During the first visit, an Allergy & Immunology Program physician obtains a detailed patient history and conducts a physical examination. Based on this information, one or more of the following tests may be performed to help confirm the allergy and determine the best treatment for the patient:

  • Skin prick and patch tests: Skin testing is a way to determine what’s causing a patient’s allergy symptoms. Concentrated amounts of allergens, such as dander, dust mites, mold, and foods, are placed on the patient’s skin to see if they cause a reaction, like redness and swelling you might get with a mosquito bite. With a skin prick test, the physician scratches the outer layer of the skin where the allergen was placed. A safe and simple test, it provides results in 15-20 minutes. During patch testing, patches with specific allergens are applied to the skin on the patient’s back. The results are then analyzed in the clinic after three days.
  • Blood tests: These tests involve a single needle prick to obtain a blood sample, which is then tested at a laboratory. They measure levels of antibodies (a type of protein produced as part of the body’s defense against infection and disease) released in the blood during an allergic reaction.
  • Lung function: One or more types of tests known as lung function tests help confirm a diagnosis of asthma. These tests measure breathing and show how well the patient’s lungs are working.
  • X-rays and CT scans: Imaging tests, such as a chest x-ray or CT scan, allow the physician look inside the patient’s body to see if anything else is causing asthma or allergy symptoms.
  • Challenge testing: If the results of allergy testing are inconclusive or if it is suspected that a patient is no longer allergic to a specific food or drug, an allergy challenge test may also be performed. In a challenge test, a very small amount of an allergen is inhaled or taken by mouth. These tests are performed under close supervision by our highly trained allergists in the day ward with full resuscitative (life- saving) facilities.

Treatment for Allergy & Immunology

Once a diagnosis is confirmed, patients receive individualized care plans and training for the optimal use of inhalers, nasal sprays and adrenaline autoinjectors (EpiPens). Patients with a specific sensitivity may be offered the option of desensitization. This stimulates the immune system with gradually increasing doses of the substances to which a person is allergic to modify or stop the allergic response. This can be done either with or without injections for a wide range of allergens and drugs, such as aspirin. Patients with severe allergies or immunodeficiency or autoimmunity conditions are provided with state-of-the-art treatments based on international guidelines.

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Meet Our Team

The Respiratory Institute’s Allergy & Immunology team is made up of expert caregivers who are highly trained in diagnosis and treatment of allergic and immunologic conditions, including skin prick testing, patch tests, challenge testing and desensitization procedures.

Caregivers involved in patient care for this program include:

  • Allergists
  • Immunologists
  • Nurses.
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