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Allergy Terms


Mold count: See Pollenand mold counts.

Myringotomy: Outpatient procedure in which small metal or plastic tubes are inserted through the eardrum to equalize pressure between the middle and outer ear.

Nasal endoscopy: A test that allows the doctor to view the nasal cavity to detect polyps or other abnormalities.

Nasal sprays: Medication used to prevent or treat nasal symptoms. Available by prescription or over-the-counter in decongestant, antihistamine, corticosteroid, or salt-water solution form. A mast cell (see above) stabilizer form is also available.

Otitis media: Bacterial or viral infection of the middle ear (the space behind the eardrum).

Otolaryngologist: A doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating a variety of disorders of the ear, nose, and throat.

Otoscope: A lighted instrument that lets the doctor see far down into the outer ear canal.

Pneumatic otoscope: An instrument that blows a puff of air into the ear canal to test eardrum movement.

Pollen: A fine, powdery substance released by plants.

Pollen and mold counts: A measure of the amount of allergens in the air. The counts are usually reported for mold spores and three types of pollen: grasses, trees, and weeds. The count is reported as grains per cubic meter of air and is translated into a corresponding level: absent, low, medium, or high.

Pulmonary function test: A test that measures how well the lungs take in air and how well this air can be exhaled (lung function). Also measured is how efficiently the lungs transfer oxygen into the blood.

RAST (radioallergosorbent test): A blood test that can measure the immune system's response to a specific allergen by measuring the amount of allergy-causing antibodies in the bloodstream, known as immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies.

Skin prick test: A test in which a possible allergen is placed on the skin, which is pricked to allow the allergen to enter. If the skin develops a red, raised itchy area (called a wheal), it usually means that the person is allergic to that allergen. This is called a positive reaction.

Sinusitis: Inflammation of the sinuses usually caused by bacterial infection. Acute sinusitis is the sudden onset of symptoms that can be treated with antibiotics and decongestants. Chronic sinusitis is characterized by multiple recurrences of sinusitis or infection that lasts several weeks.

Tympanometry: A test in which sound and air pressure are used to check for disorders of the middle ear.

Urticaria (hives): Itchy, swollen, red bumps or patches on the skin that appear suddenly as a result of the body's adverse reaction to certain allergens. They can appear anywhere on the body including the face, lips, tongue, throat, or ears. Hives vary in size and can last for minutes or days.


WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Luqman Seidu, MD on May 19, 2014

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