Otolaryngology-head and neck surgery specialist Dr. Sarah Vakkalanka with Pacifica ENT in Huntington Beach and Orange County, California, offers her patients their best hope for managing allergies -- testing to identify allergens. By figuring out what causes allergic reactions, Dr. Vakkalanka can help her patients develop plans to manage the problem and improve the quality of their lives with better treatment options.
Allergy tests use skin or blood to determine what causes an allergic reaction such as:
For some people, allergies are little more than a nuisance, but for others, they can be disabling and even life-threatening.
There are 2 types of allergy tests:
Skin tests are the most common, because they cost less. A blood test relies on a lab to read the results, but a skin test is clearly visible without any additional costs.
During a skin test, Dr. Vakkalanka or a member of her staff places a small amount of a suspected allergen on the skin to see if it causes a reaction. This is done in one of 3 ways:
With a skin-prick test, the allergen is dissolved in a solution. A series of pricks or scratches are made in the skin and the solution placed on them. If the skin gets red and itchy, that indicates a positive reaction.
The intradermal test is similar but instead of pricking or scratching the skin surface, the solution is injected into the skin. This test tends to be more sensitive and can lead to false-positives.
During a skin-patch test, the solution containing the allergen is placed on a pad and the pad is taped to the skin. The patch is left in place for up to 3 days. If the skin gets reds and itchy, this indicates an allergy exists.
With a blood test, the lab looks for antibodies that indicate a reaction. When you’re exposed to something your immune system decides is dangerous, it creates flags, called antigens. The flags serve to notify the system if these same allergens show up again. The presence of antibodies in the blood indicates a positive reaction, but the test isn’t as foolproof as a skin test.
Allergy tests pinpoint what’s causing reactions, and specifically, what you’re allergic to and how you react to it. With this information, Dr. Vakkalanka is better able to devise a treatment plan to help you deal with the allergy.
Once an allergy has been confirmed, your doctor may recommend allergy shots. The form of immunotherapy treatment involves injections of whatever you’re allergic to. Over time, the amount injected increases, which can help you gradually become less sensitive to the allergen. While they don’t work for all allergies, they may work well if you’re allergic to bees or other stinging insects, dust, pets, or pollen.
At Pacifica ENT, we accept most major insurance plans. Here is list of the plans we accept. Please note that HMO's require authorization for visit. Please contact our office if you do not see your insurance provider listed.
"Dr. Sarah Vakkalanka is one of the most professional doctors I have ever met. Everything during my operation went fine thanks to her."
"Dr. Sarah was recommended by my PCP. She diagnosed my issue and performed surgery on me. She was fantastic in all respects. Would recommend her highly."
"Dr. Sarah is one of the most knowledgeable, encouraging, kind, ear nose and throat surgeons I know."
"Dr. Sarah is truly amazing. She is very patient, asks a lot of questions and very thorough with her consultation."
"If you're looking for a caring, intelligent ENT doctor with incredible bedside manner, you would be nuts not to seek Dr. Sarah out."
"Love this dr. She always takes the time to listen to me. Staff is good getting me in quickly. Highly recommend her."