Allergy & Immunology
Find your care plan for allergy and asthma symptoms at Grand River Medical Group in Dubuque, Iowa. We will help you find out what allergens can be causing your symptoms and what treatments may be right for you. Our allergist is also an immunologist, a doctor who specializes in immune deficiencies. An immune deficiency is when your body is too weak to fight off infections.
Conditions We Treat
- Asthma (symptoms often include coughing, wheezing, or shortness of breath)
- Drug/Medication Allergy (most common- penicillin)
- Eczema (atopic dermatitis, a frequent cause of rashes in children)
- Eye Allergies (allergic conjunctivitis)
- Food Allergy
- Frequent Sinus Infections (chronic sinusitis)
- Hayfever/Nasal Allergies (allergic rhinitis)
- Hives and Swelling (urticaria and angioedema)
- Life-threatening Allergic Reactions (anaphylaxis)
- Rashes due to contact with allergens (allergic contact dermatitis)
- Stinging Insect Allergy (such as bees, wasps, and hornets)
Your First Appointment
Our allergist will review your medical history, talk to you about your symptoms and complete a physical exam. If appropriate the next step is to discuss testing or treatment options. The length of your first appointment can vary based on the recommended testing and may take up to two hours.
Avoid taking any antihistamines (such as Benadryl, Claritin, Zyrtec, or Allegra) five days before your first appointment. These medications block the skin test. Continue taking your other medications unless advised to stop them. Contact our allergy clinic if you have a question.
Appointment for Children
To ensure your child's appointment is successful we ask that a parent go with him/her to all appointments.
Screening & Diagnosis
Depend on our experts to help you diagnose and manage both seasonal and chronic allergies. Testing includes:
Allergy Skin Testing
Helps determine what allergens may be causing your symptoms. Common allergens include; airborne allergens (pollen, dust mites, pet dander, and molds), food, stinging insects, and medications.
A lung function test used to help diagnosis and treat asthma. It provides important information on lung volumes and whether the patient has an airway obstruction (a narrowing of the bronchial air passages).
Allergy Patch Testing
Helps understand what contact allergens may be causing your rash. Some examples include preservatives, pigments, metals, dyes and fragrances. We may ask you to bring personal care products from home to test for individual products. Many common contact allergens are available in our office.
Patch testing takes four days from start to finish. On Monday the office applies small test patches to your upper back. You then must return to the office on Wednesday to get the patches taken off. Thursday, is your final patch testing appointment. Avoid getting your back wet during this entire testing period.
The initial testing includes a review of your medical history to determine appropriate testing. Which may include a blood draw. This information about your immune system health will assist with your care and treatment options. One treatment option is immunoglobulin therapy. This involves replacement of antibody levels through IV or home SQ (under the skin) infusions.
Our allergist will talk to you about what treatment options are best for your lifestyle. Common treatment options for your allergy and asthma symptoms include:
- Allergen avoidance
- Allergy Shots (Allergen Immunotherapy)
Asthma varies from a mild, infrequent problem to a severe, daily problem that can even be life-threatening. Treatment of asthma includes avoidance of triggers, inhalers (both quick relievers and long-term controllers), and allergy shots. There are also several "biologic" therapies for asthma that allow for improved control, including Xolair and Nucala. Our goal is to reduce the amount of oral steroids (such as prednisone) that you need to take.