Local Allergic Rhinitis
- Posted on: Oct 22 2020
Why is my allergy test negative but I still have allergy symptoms?
You may have had an allergy skin or blood test recently because you suffer from allergies. Your symptoms may range from itchy eyes, runny nose, or congestion during the day or at night. Surprisingly your skin test was negative or only came up positive for a few allergens! You may be asking yourself how you have so many allergic symptoms with no known allergies. This is a common question at Sinus and Snoring Specialists and there is a phenomenon that explains it called Local Allergic Rhinitis (LAR).
Local Allergic Rhinitis (LAR)
There have been many studies on patients who have negative allergy tests who still have symptoms. In a study called a Nasal Provocation Test, a certain antigen (like Ragweed) is sprayed into the nose and the patient’s symptoms including itching, congestion, drainage, and nasal airflow are monitored. This study revealed that despite a negative skin or blood test, many patients were allergic just in their nose. Thanks to all those patients who endured this nasal challenge, we now know of this phenomenon called Local Allergic Rhinitis (LAR).
So how do you treat your LAR? The best way is with sublingual immunotherapy, also known as allergy drops.
Unfortunately for LAR patients with a negative skin test, we do not know exactly what is bothering them and we do not perform a nasal challenge test at the office. However, with allergy drops, we can give the patient comprehensive coverage of up to 15 antigens of various trees, weeds, molds, grasses, and more. The patient’s history and exposure is also very important in guiding what is put in LAR allergy drops. A lot of our antigens have cross-reactivity, meaning they will build up your immunity to multiple species of trees, weeds, or grasses. So even if you travel outside of Austin, you will still be covered for a lot of other types of allergens.
You simply take allergy drops once per day by placing 3 drops under your tongue for 2 minutes.
At about 6 weeks, antibodies start to build up in your body. At 6 months, patients’ symptoms are doing much better. After 36 months on drops, patients have built up full immunity and can likely discontinue drops!