The Division of Allergic Diseases evaluates and treats patients who have wheezing, cough, shortness of breath (bronchial asthma), hives and itching, sneezing, stuffy nose and itchy eyes (allergic and nonallergic rhinitis), and sinusitis.
The physicians also evaluate and treat patients with recurrent infections and possible immunodeficiencies (primary immunodeficiencies) and patients with anaphylaxis and swelling of the skin (angioedema). Physicians administer allergy vaccine immunotherapy (allergy shots) as well as vaccinations for infectious diseases (such as flu shots).
For patients who have been evaluated at the Allergy Division of the Mayo Clinic and live away from Rochester, allergy vaccines prepared by our laboratory can be mailed to and administered by the patients' physicians in their home areas. The Division also serves as a regional center for measurement of pollen and mold counts during March through October.
An examination usually begins with a comprehensive history and physical examination. This will include reviewing of outside information provided by the patient.
Testing is individualized and may include allergy skin testing, pulmonary function tests, methacholine bronchial challenge tests, and endoscope exams of the nose and upper airway. Testing under the direction of an allergist is done in the Allergy Division to maximize convenience, resources and the patient's time.
Other testing and consultation may include allergy blood tests (RAST), measurement of blood counts and total IgE. Chest X-ray and high resolution CT scan of the lungs and sinuses may be required to detect abnormalities or diseases that could be causing or aggravating breathing problems. If a consultation with other specialists is needed, they are easily obtainable and available in the same building where the Allergy Division is located.
After testing and consultations, the Mayo Clinic Allergy specialist will compile the information and offer the diagnosis and treatment plan, answer any questions and arrange follow-up.
An allergy specialist may recommend immunotherapy (more recently named allergy vaccination) to control specific allergy-producing substances called allergens. The goal is to decrease the allergic or asthmatic symptoms by making the patient less allergic. Most people benefit from this therapy, although some do not.
Allergy injections are administered under a physician's supervision either at Mayo Clinic in Rochester or at a local medical clinic or hospital. They are given as part of the allergy treatment, usually in conjunction with allergy-avoidance measures and medications.
While a patient is receiving treatment with allergy extracts, Mayo Clinic allergists require re-evaluation at one- to two-year intervals or sooner as needed.