Dr. Layton - Published Articles

YOUR BODY AND THE ALLERGY ASSAULT

Allergies aren't limited to seasonal assaults of pollen and grass clippings. In fact, they can cause symptoms far more serious than itchy eyes and a watery nose...What can cause allergies? Allergens can include things a person encounters in his or her home, school and workplace everyday such as: Foods: eggs, wheat, corn, milk, sugar, Chemicals: perfume, formaldehyde, gasoline, household cleaners, pesticides, Inhalants: animal dander, dust mites, pollens, molds. As conscious as we are today of our diets and the environment, there are still factors and situations we cannot control which negatively affect our bodies. The food we eat and the chemicals present in our air, food and water can cause adverse, or allergic, reactions in our bodies. At the present time, there is debate within the medical community as to the extent of allergies. To many physicians and allergists, allergies are limited to reactions caused by inhalants such as pollens, weeds, molds and animal danders. To myself and others, allergies, or hypersensitivities, are broader in scope and are caused by allergens we come face-to-face with every day. In fact, individuals with symptoms involving the ears, nose, throat, skin and respiratory systems can also have allergies caused by foods, additives, and chemicals. Often, these individuals will experience additional symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, joint and muscle pain, abdominal pain, urinary frequency and multiple central nervous symptoms including irritability, confusion and difficulty concentrating. These allergies may seem harmless but daily exposure to them can cause chronic problems in children and adults. Detection: Are you frequently sick? Do you have symptoms which doctors have labeled psychosomatic? The cause of your medical problems may be an allergic problem. How are these medical problems detected? Detecting allergies is a difficult task. That's why we place special importance on communicating with our patients. Listening is the first step to diagnosing a medical problem, especially an allergy problem. We believe this is crucial to developing a working partnership with patients. Afterall, you are the best source of information about your own body. The first step in solving an individual's medical problem is not to prescribe medication to alleviate the symptoms. At our office, we begin with a comprehensive medical history of the patient. Questions include what a patient eats every day, what type of clothing he or she wears, what type of building and cleaning materials are in the home and numerous others. Our goal is to receive as much information as possible in order to determine the underlying cause of a patient's problems. In order to thoroughly detect an individual's allergic problems, we employ several methods for testing allergies other than the typical blood or RAST testing methods: Skin Endpoint Titration (SET) This method of testing is typically used to detect a pollen or mold allergy. A carefully measured amount of extract is injected under the patient's skin. This will raise a wheal (or bump) on the patient's arm and may cause mild symptoms such as nasal congestion. Once the correct dilution is discovered, the doctor can determine the treatment dosage.

IntradermalProvocation/Neutralization Food Testing: To determine a food allergy or hypersensitivity, we inject a measured amount of suspected food under a patient's skin to see if we can objectively diagnose and/or mimic the patient's reaction to that particular food. This procedure is called Intradermal Provocation/Neutralization Testing, and this method has proven to be 80% accurate in diagnosing food allergies. No other method of food allergy testing is nearly as successful. Sublingual Testing: To determine a patient's sensitivity to chemicals, three drops of a dilution of the suspected chemical are placed under the patient's tongue. If symptoms develop, a weaker dilution is used until a neutralizing dose is found. Sublingual Allergy Testing is also utilized for inhalant, food and hormone sensitivities if the physician believes the individual patient would benefit from this technique. Results: We have had significant success with our sublingual immunotherapy treatment. With sublingual immunotherapy, individualized treatment is prepared. Patients merely have to place drops of the solution under their tongue daily. Results are noted immediately. This approach to treating allergies, in contrast to allergy injections, is particularly beneficial because it results in fewer side effects, can be effective quite rapidly and does not require frequent medical visits to the physician's office for the injections. Not all physicians offer sublingual immunotherapy. This may be due in part to the fact that they are not aware of studies which have demonstrated its effectiveness. While more studies need to be conducted concerning both injection and sublingual immunotherapy, we are confident in being able to provide the sublingual treatment because of the consistent positive effects it has had on our patients.

Conclusion: You are the best judge of your own body. If you are experiencing medical problems which you believe may be caused by an allergy, contact our office. We will listen first and then strive to develop a partnership in order to uncover the mystery of your medical problems. The detection of allergies may be the key to a more normal, healthy life.