Capitol Allergy & Asthma Center

Dr. Maadhava Ellaurie M.D.

Sterling, VA 703.444.0817 |  Laurel, MD  301.775-5173

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an allergist?

An allergy and immunology specialist is a doctor who is trained specifically to treat and manage the symptoms caused by allergies and asthma.  Allergy/Immunology physicians complete at least 9 years of training.  After completion of a 4 year medical degree, these doctors complete 3 years of specialty training in either internal medicine or pediatrics and then complete an additional 2 years of fellowship training in the sub-specialty of allergy and immunology.

Do I need to see an allergist?

An allergy and immunology specialist is specifically trained to effectively treat and manage allergic diseases. These doctors specialize in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of problems affecting the immune system (i.e. allergies, asthma, autoimmune diseases, immunodeficiency diseases).

If you experience symptoms of allergic disease such as sneezing, congestion, itching of the skin or eyes, watery eyes, wheezing or trouble breathing, hives, etc. you should see an allergist for a comprehensive allergy evaluation.  An allergist is the most qualified physician to help treat and manage your allergies.

What does it mean to be board certified in allergy and immunology?

A board certified allergist/immunologist has successfully passed the certification examination of the American Board of Allergy and Immunology after completion of their fellowship.  Board certified allergists/immunologists have also passed the board certification examination for either internal medicine or pediatrics prior to their certification in allergy/immunology.

Can children be tested for allergies?

Yes!  Both adults and children of any age can get tested for allergies.

What is allergy skin testing?

In order to determine the cause of your allergy symptoms, an allergist may perform allergy skin testing.  In this type of testing, small concentrated amounts of specific allergens are applied to the skin to determine what allergens are causing your symptoms.  If your are allergic to a specific allergen, swelling will occur on the area where the allergen was applied.  An allergy skin test can be performed in the office and takes about 20 minutes.  Any swelling that occurs at the time of testing will go away within 30 minutes.  This is a safe, quick, and effective way of allergy testing.

What is a spirometry test?

It is a lung function test that measures lung capacity and is used in the diagnosis of asthma for ages 5 and up.

What are allergy shots?

It is a form of treatment aimed at decreasing sensitivity to allergens like pollen, animal dander, dust mite, and mold.  It involves injecting, increasing amounts of an allergen over several months.  It is effective for treatment of allergic rhinitis, allergic asthma, and stinging insect allergy.

What can I do in my home, work place, and school to reduce the allergens that cause allergic reactions?

There are many things you can do to reduce your risk of allergic reaction.  Check the daily pollen count for your region.  Peak pollen hours are during the morning from 5-10am.  try to avoid being outside during these peak hours.  When driving, keep the car windows rolled up to decrease your exposure to pollen.  At home, keep all windows closed, especially at night.  Shower and wash your hair every night to remove pollen that you may have picked up while outside.  Wear a mask whenever you are mowing or raking leaves ti prevent inhalation of allergens.

Dust and vacuum regularly.  Use an air cleaner to decrease the amounts of pollen, dust mite, pet dander, an other allergens in your home.  Whenever possible, replace carpet with vinyl, hard wood, or tile flooring to prevent allergens from collecting.  Keep your basement as dry and clean as possible to prevent moisture and the build up of molds.  Try to maintain your home's humidity below 50% with the use of air conditioners and dehumidifiers.  Use hypoallergenic plastic covers and cases for mattresses and pillows.

The best way to prevent an allergic reaction to food is to completely avoid the specific foods that trigger reactions.  When eating out, ask about "hidden" ingredients, read food labels when buying groceries, and prepare for emergencies by always carrying injectable epinephrine and antihistamine to treat accidental ingestion.  If your child has food allergies it is important for all care-takers at school, camp, day care, etc. to plan for how food allergies will be managed and how an allergic reaction will be recognized and treated.