ENT Allergy

Allergy Testing and Treatment

Barbara Heywood, M.D., maintains an otolaryngic allergy practice at the ENT Clinic on the UNMC campus. Dr. Heywood treats patients with head, neck and upper aerodigestive track disorders caused by allergies. She describes allergic reaction as a "total reactive state – a reaction brought on by food and or environment - anything ingested, touched or breathed." The American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy estimates that half of the cases seen by an ENT doctor are probably caused - directly or indirectly - by allergy.

Dr. Heywood uses Serial Dilution Endpoint Titration (SET) and InVitro Serum Testing (RAST) in making diagnoses and determining treatment. With SET, a series of small intradermal injections - using fine needles and a small amount of antigen - is made on the patient’s arms. Proper dosing for subsequent immunotherapy injections is based on the degree of reaction to these antigen injections. InVitro testing uses a small amount of blood serum to measure increased levels of allergen antibodies.

Once testing has identified the allergen(s), the most basic treatment is elimination or avoidance. If avoidance is not a total solution, medications are prescribed to control symptoms. When the combination of avoidance and medication does not control symptoms, regular injections of the allergen(s) counter the body’s overactive response to the allergen(s) and build increased desensitivity. Testing not only reveals the target point for such immunotherapy injections, but helps determine appropriate drug therapy and makes the patient aware of what to avoid and how to minimize exposure.

Barbara Heywood, M.D.

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