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Allergy, Asthma and Immunology

Man relaxing outside in a hammock reading
Man relaxing outside in a hammock reading

Why choose Ochsner Health for your allergy, asthma and immunology care?

Ochsner allergy, asthma and immunology specialists provide comprehensive care for people of all ages. With several convenient locations throughout Louisiana, high quality allergy, asthma and immunology care is always nearby.

Our allergists are board-certified, fellowship-trained experts. They are skilled at evaluating, diagnosing, treating and managing allergies, allergic asthma and related immune conditions. Plus, with Ochsner allergy, asthma and immunology physicians, it’s easy to coordinate care with other Ochsner doctors, allowing you to focus on what matters most: your health.

Immunology is the study of the immune system, which helps fight off bacteria, viruses and other harmful invaders. In people with allergies and asthma, the immune system responds to harmless substances, like food or animal hair, as if they are harmful. A substance that causes an allergic reaction is called an allergen. Allergies can affect several parts of the body, such as the eyes, skin or sinuses.

Asthma is a type of lung disease. It is often caused by breathing in allergens that lead to an immune response in the airways. This type of asthma is called allergic asthma.

There is no cure for allergies or asthma, but they can be well managed in most cases.

The Ochsner allergy, asthma and immunology team provides care for several conditions, including:

  • Allergic asthma — a lung condition caused by breathing in allergens

  • Allergic conjunctivitis — itchy or watery eyes caused by an allergen

  • Allergic rhinitis, sometimes called hay fever — cold-like symptoms due to inhaled allergens, such as dust, pollen or mold

  • Anaphylaxis — a severe and potentially life-threatening allergic reaction

  • Angioedema and urticaria — hives or swelling in response to an allergen

  • Atopic dermatitis, also called eczema — a skin condition related to an overactive immune system

  • Drug-related allergies — a reaction to antibiotics or other medications

  • Food allergies and intolerances — an immune response to one or more foods

  • Insect and venom allergies — an immune response to being around or bitten by certain insects

  • Latex allergies — an immune reaction to natural rubber latex

Symptoms of allergies and asthma vary from person to person. You may have only one or several allergy or asthma symptoms. The severity of symptoms is also different for everyone and may change over time.

Common allergy symptoms include:

  • Coughing

  • Hives

  • Itching

  • Runny or stuffy nose

  • Shortness of breath

  • Sneezing

  • Swelling

  • Watery eyes

  • Wheezing

Asthma symptoms:

  • Chest tightness

  • Coughing

  • Shortness of breath

  • Wheezing

Allergy and asthma treatments may target how the immune system works or specific symptoms. Treatments that affect the immune system are called immunotherapies.

Allergy treatments

There are several ways to treat and manage allergies. Your provider will work with you to find the best options for you.

One way to prevent an allergic reaction is to avoid allergens. Your care team will provide you with information on how to do this. They may also recommend seeing a dietitian if you have food allergies.

You may be prescribed medications. One common group of drugs is called antihistamines. These medications block chemicals that cause an allergic reaction. You may also be prescribed corticosteroids or steroids to decrease inflammation.

Allergy medications may be given as:

  • Creams

  • Eyedrops

  • Injections, or shots

  • Lotions

  • Nasal sprays

  • Pills

Another common allergy treatment is allergen-specific immunotherapy. This treatment exposes you to a small number of specific allergens over three to five years. The long-term, low-level exposure helps to desensitize the body and lessens the immune response.

Ochsner offers two main types of immunotherapies:

  • Sublingual immunotherapy — daily immunotherapy in tablet form

  • Subcutaneous immunotherapy, or allergy shots — regularly scheduled injections given in clinic

Accelerated subcutaneous immunotherapy, which is immunotherapy delivered via injection underneath the skin on an expedited schedule, may be an option for people with specific allergies, such as venom allergies.

Asthma treatments

Like allergies, learning to avoid things that trigger asthma symptoms is essential. People with allergic asthma may also benefit from medications and immunotherapies used for other types of allergic responses.

Some people are also treated with:

  • Fast-acting bronchodilators — inhaled medication taken during an asthma attack to quickly relax airways

  • Inhaled steroids

Biologic therapies decrease the immune response by targeting specific antibodies, cell receptors or molecules in the body. These therapies are given by injection or infusion. Some biologic therapies can be taken at home. Others must be given in the clinic.

Anaphylaxis treatment

Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that may be life-threatening. It is a medical emergency that requires medical attention. If you have certain allergies or a personal or family history of anaphylaxis, your doctor may recommend having an EpiPen. An EpiPen gives a quick dose of epinephrine injected through the skin to relax airways and blood vessels that may tighten in a severe allergic reaction.

Allergies are diagnosed through allergy testing. This testing may be done in several ways, including blood tests or exposure to possible allergens through skin pricks.

Other blood tests may also be used to determine if you have other immune system issues.

In-house allergy and immunology blood testing

Blood tests are appropriate for people of all ages. They can also be an excellent option for people with a high risk of anaphylaxis.

Allergy and immunology blood tests may be completed in-house at Ochsner hospitals and will be available at additional Ochsner allergy, asthma and immunology locations in the future. In-house testing means you have access to detailed, accurate results quickly.

When you come to Ochsner for allergy, asthma and immunology care, we will pair you with an expert in the field. However, you will receive more than high-quality personal care. Our doctors actively collaborate and share information and ideas. So, you will also receive the expertise of the entire Ochsner team.

Additionally, our care team works closely with Ochsner primary care doctors, dietitians, dermatologists, otolaryngologists (also called ear, nose and throat doctors, or ENTs), pulmonologists, and other specialists to ensure you receive the care you need.

We offer comprehensive allergy, asthma and immunology services across Louisiana, including in New Orleans and Metairie. Find a location near you.

Ochsner allergy, asthma and immunology specialists are active in academic writing and research. Our team is also an international leader in aeroallergens, which are airborne allergens such as pollen. Every year the Ochsner team leads the New Orleans Aeroallergen Course. This intensive multi-day training draws doctors from across the nation and around the globe.

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Map of Ochsner-affiliated facilities that provide services related to Allergy, Asthma and Immunology

Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Locations

Ochsner Medical Complex - Clearview
4430 Veterans Memorial Blvd.
Metairie, LA 70006
  • Monday – Friday: 7 a.m.-5 p.m.
Ochsner University Hospital & Clinics
2390 West Congress St.
Lafayette, LA 70506
  • Open 24/7
Ochsner Lafayette General Surgical Hospital
1000 West Pinhook Road
Lafayette, LA 70503
  • Open 24/7
Ochsner Center for Primary Care and Wellness
1401 Jefferson Highway
New Orleans, LA 70121
  • Mon–Fri: 7 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Sat: 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Slidell Memorial Hospital East
100 Medical Center Drive
Slidell, LA 70461
  • Open 24/7
Ochsner Health Center - Slidell
2750 East Gause Blvd.
Slidell, LA 70461
  • Monday – Friday: 6:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Saturday: 7 a.m.-11 a.m.
Ochsner Health Center - Covington
1000 Ochsner Blvd.
Covington, LA 70433
  • Mon–Fri: 7 a.m.-6 p.m.
Ochsner Health Center - O'Neal
16777 Medical Center Drive
Baton Rouge, LA 70816
  • Monday–Friday: 7 a.m.-6 p.m.
Ochsner Health Center - Metairie
2005 Veterans Memorial Blvd.
Metairie, LA 70002
  • Mon: 7 a.m.-8 p.m.
  • Tues–Fri: 7 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Sat: 8 a.m.-11:45 a.m.
Ochsner Baptist - A Campus of Ochsner Medical Center
2700 Napoleon Ave.
New Orleans, LA 70115
  • Open 24/7
Ochsner Medical Center - Kenner
180 West Esplanade Ave.
Kenner, LA 70065
  • Monday – Friday: 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.