Conditions & Treatments
Allergy and Asthma Relief ServicesAllergies and asthma affect millions of Americans. Fortunately, you no longer have to suffer from them or related conditions. The knowledgeable and compassionate providers at Oak Brook Allergists are dedicated to delivering quality, comprehensive allergy and asthma care for adults and children in northeastern Illinois. We offer a wide range of testing and treatments, including oral immunotherapy, a revolutionary disease-modifying approach to treating food allergies that, while not a cure, is the closest we've come to date. Whether you experience mild or severe allergic or asthmatic reactions, the experts at Oak Brook Allergists can help you breathe comfortably again. Find out more about some of the most common conditions we treat as well as our allergy, asthma, and immunology treatments:
- Allergic Rhinitis (Hay Fever)
- Chronic Sinusitis
- Eczema & Hives
- Food Allergies
- Oral Immunotherapy
- Pet Allergies
- Stinging Insect Allergies
Our ServicesAt Oak Brook Allergists, we don’t just diagnose the source of your condition – we do whatever it takes to alleviate your symptoms. We offer a number of tests and treatments for allergies, asthma, and related conditions. The first step is a physical examination in our office and health history assessment. If allergies are suspected, allergy testing can begin on your very first visit to our office. We will work closely with you and your primary care provider to design a personalized treatment plan to provide you with long-term relief.
We utilize skin, blood, and food tests to determine which allergens aggravate your symptoms or condition.
Using our panel of allergy skin tests, we are able to evaluate 32 different airborne allergens – including a variety of grasses, weeds, trees, dust mite, molds, and pet dander. Your allergy evaluation will be broken up over several visits. The first visit is a consultation and review of the problem involved. If skin tests are required, they are often started on the first visit. Skin tests are done by the prick and intradermal methods and usually take 2 or 3 visits to complete.
Immunoglobulin (IgE) blood tests are also usually required. These tests can identify the presence of specific IgE antibodies, high levels of which may indicate an allergic reaction to specific substances.
Because food and pollen allergens cross-react, we may recommend allergy food testing so that your allergy workup is complete. An oral food challenge (also called a feeding test) is the gold standard to confirm a food allergy diagnosis, or to rule one out. The challenge involves slowly eating foods while in the doctor’s office, under medical supervision, to ensure you receive appropriate treatment in the event you experience an allergic reaction. When conducted by board-certified allergists like those at Oak Brook Allergists, the test is safe and can even be more reliable than skin tests or blood tests to confirm food allergies.
Results of all allergy tests will be reviewed with you and all your treatment options discussed once testing is completed.
We utilize in-office pulmonary function tests (PFTs) to help diagnose and manage your allergy or asthma symptoms. These tests are noninvasive, quick, and painless. They measure how well your lungs are working.
The most common PFT is spirometry, in which you breathe into a special mouthpiece that measures how much air you inhale and exhale as well as how quickly you exhale. PFTs are used to identify asthma and other breathing disorders.
A bronchial challenge test – also called a methacholine challenge or bronchoprovocation test – may be used to confirm an asthma diagnosis as well as identify how sensitive your lungs are. During this test in your doctor’s office, you inhale a nebulized drug meant to restrict the airways, followed by a breathing test to measure how restricted your airways have become. A 20% drop in lung function during the bronchial challenge test is a positive result, indicating the presence of asthma.
Many different medications are used for symptom relief in patients with allergies, asthma, and other disorders. Many of the most common drugs are available over the counter while others, including epinephrine auto-injectors (such as an EpiPen) and some nasal sprays, require a prescription. Epinephrine is the typical first-line treatment for anaphylaxis, a severe and life-threatening allergic reaction.
At Oak Brook Allergists, we use medications that address specific symptoms as well as biologic therapy that can prevent inflammation or keep your immune system from overreacting in the first place. Patients with asthma, skin conditions like eczema, and some sinus conditions may benefit from biologics. The ability of biologics to precisely target a specific molecule involved in your allergic or asthmatic response is what makes the therapy unique.
Limiting your exposure to certain allergens can help you lessen or avoid your allergy or asthma symptoms. For example, food allergies are often addressed by avoiding the food in question – although this fails to address unintentional exposure, which remains a serious problem. However, newer therapies like oral immunotherapy are designed to fill this gap in the treatment of food allergies.
The environmental control measures recommended will depend on your particular allergy or condition, and may include:
- Decreasing humidity levels in the home to control the growth of mold or the presence of dust mites
- Limiting outdoor activities during pollen season or on days when pollution levels are particularly high
- Keeping away from tobacco smoke (for patients with asthma)
Ask your allergist about the steps you can take to help alleviate your allergy or asthma symptoms.
A form of subcutaneous immunotherapy, allergy shots work much like a vaccine does. Small doses of a particular allergen are injected under the skin. Repeated exposure to gradually increasing doses of an allergen desensitizes your body – resulting in a tolerance or immunity to that allergen. Maintenance-dose allergy shots help to maintain this protection.
Allergy shots can be given to adults and children from age 5 and up suffering from a variety of allergies, including hay fever as well as allergies to pet dander, stinging insects, pollen, dust mites, and more. Allergy shots are not recommended to address food allergies.
Allergy shots, especially when used in children, may help prevent the development of asthma.
It can take months – even up to a year – of maintenance doses before the desired effects are achieved. For some, allergy shots may need to be continued indefinitely for sustained protection.
Oral immunotherapy (OIT) is a safe and effective oral desensitization for adults and children with food allergies. It involves gradually increasing exposure by mouth to an allergen while under medical supervision. Oral immunotherapy offers valuable, lifesaving protection against unintentional allergen exposure.