Allergens & Allergies

Allergies are a chronic inflammatory condition due to an abnormal immune response to environmental triggers or allergens such as pollen and dust mites. Over 40 million Americans suffer from allergies. Common symptoms include sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose, postnasal drip, sinus congestion, sore throat, hoarseness, and sinus infections. Allergies contribute to many ear, nose and throat conditions, which is why Dr. Coppola has been treating allergies his entire career.

Allergy Testing

Skin testing is done to determine what allergens you are sensitive to. Intradermal skin testing allows us to determine what you are allergic to and what degree of sensitivity exists. Your test results are used to customize your treatment, so a safe optimal starting point is determined, and efficient dose escalation can be achieved. Testing is performed by our specially trained nurse. Certain medications need to be stopped prior to testing.

Allergy Treatment or Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy is the process of exposing your body to allergens (the things you are allergic to) repeatedly over time. This involves getting allergy shots or using allergy drops under the tongue. Over time your body develops tolerance so that your immune system does not over react to environmental triggers. The goal of allergy treatment is to reduce symptoms, use less medications or eliminate regular use of them, have fewer upper respiratory infections or asthma exacerbations and improved quality of life. Immunotherapy will last between 3-5 years. This results in symptom relief during treatment but also long after therapy has stopped.

Allergy Shots (SCIT)

Allergy shots or subcutaneous immunotherapy, better known as SCIT, is the process of receiving weekly injections from your personalized treatment vial. Most patients have allergies to multiple allergens, so it is quite common to receive two injections, one in each arm. Shots are given just once a week. During the escalation phase of treatment, the dose or volume of injection is increased each week. Once the maximal dose is reached, then the strength or concentration of the injection is increased. This process is repeated until your maintenance dose is achieved, which may take four to six months. You will continue to receive weekly maintenance injections for the duration of treatment.

Allergy drops (SLIT)

An alternative to allergy shots is allergy drops, also known as sublingual immunotherapy or SLIT. This involves placing drops from your customized treatment vial under your tongue. These are done daily at home or work. Treatment duration is also between three and five years. This type of therapy is very convenient and does not require weekly visits to a doctor’s office. This process of desensitization or building tolerance is the same as what occurs with allergy shots. The allergens are absorbed under the tongue and processed by the immune system, leading to immunologic changes with lasting benefit.

Click here for Frequently Asked Questions about SLIT


Medications to avoid prior to allergy testing

There are many different medications that can affect allergy skin test results. They will need to be stopped seven days prior to testing. These include prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications that contain antihistamines or have antihistamine properties. If you have taken oral steroids in the preceding three weeks, please notify us so that testing can be rescheduled.  Oral inhalers for asthma do not need to be stopped. Sudafed or other decongestants may be used up until testing. Nasal steroid sprays can be used prior to testing but Azelastine, Astelin, Astepro, Patanase and Dymista should be stopped three days before allergy skin testing.

Drugs to Stop 7 Days Before Testing (generic in parenthesis)

  • Actifed (triprolidine)
  • Alavert (loratadine)
  • Allegra (fexofenadine)
  • Allerx (chlorpheniramine)
  • Atarax (hydroxyzine)
  • Benadryl (diphenhydramine)
  • Bromfed (brompheniramine)
  • Clarinex (desloratadine)
  • Claritin (loratadine)
  • Duratuss AC (diphenhydramine)
  • Naldecon (chlorpheniramine)
  • Nyquil (doxylamine)
  • Palgic (carbinoxamine)
  • PBZ (tripelennamine)
  • Peractin (cyproheptadine)
  • Phenergan (promethazine)
  • Rondec (chlorpheniramine)
  • Rynatan (chlorpheniramine)
  • Semprex (acrivastine)
  • Sudafed Sinus/Allergy
  • Tanafed (chlorpheniramine)
  • Tavist (clemastine)
  • Tussi (pyrilamine)
  • Tussionex (chlorpheniramine)
  • Tylenol PM (diphenhydramine)
  • Xyzal (levocetirizine)
  • Zyrtec (cetirizine)
  • Singulair (montelukast)