Allergy & Immunology

Get relief from your asthma or allergy symptoms with effective, personalized care from the specialists at Essentia Health. Count on us to identify the source of your symptoms and find the best treatment to help you stay healthy and comfortable.

What's an Allergy?

An allergy is an abnormal, acquired sensitivity to a given substance, including pollen, drugs, food, venom or numerous other environmental triggers. An allergy is a local or systemic inflammatory response to allergens. Often times symptoms are swelling of the nasal mucosa, itchy burning eyes, sneezing, wheezing, fullness in the ears and various skin rashes such as hives, or anaphylaxis, a potentially fatal reaction.

Conditions Treated

See the full list of conditions we treat, and select a condition to find providers and locations near you.


Allergy Skin Test: What To Expect

Skin testing is the most common way to identify allergies. Your skin testing appointment may include:

  • Skin prick test – Applies allergens to the surface of your skin with a small prick or puncture
  • Intradermal test – Injects allergens below your skin’s surface

You’ll be closely monitored by your health care team for signs of an allergic reaction after each test.

The tests aren’t painful, and you’ll appreciate our ability to test for many allergens at once. Most allergy testing appointments last 60 to 90 minutes.

If you take antihistamines, you’ll need to stop taking them several days before your skin test. Follow your doctor’s instructions to ensure you get the most accurate test results.

Allergy Testing for Children

If your child needs a skin test, trust us to help him or her feel comfortable. We’ll explain this gentle procedure so they understand what to expect. If your little one is afraid of needles, ask about the option for an allergy blood test.

Get Relief with Allergy Shots

Decrease your allergy symptoms and prevent new allergies with immunotherapy—commonly known as allergy shots. During a “build-up phase,” you’ll receive weekly shots over several months to help your body learn to tolerate an allergen. When you move onto the “maintenance phase,” you’ll get shots less often. Work with your doctor to determine the right treatment schedule for you.

If you’re allergic to ragweed or grass pollen, you may have the option of taking pills instead of getting shots. This is called sublingual immunotherapy. You also may have the option of sublingual allergy drops under the tongue which can treat all antigens.

Care for Food Allergies

A food allergy may be the cause of symptoms such as:

  • Hives, eczema, or redness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Swelling of the lips, tongue, or throat
  • Stomach pain or diarrhea

To learn whether you have a food allergy, you may take skin tests, blood tests, or a food challenge. During a food challenge, you or your child eat small amounts of a suspected allergy-causing food while under close medical supervision.

The best treatment for a food allergy is to avoid the food that causes symptoms. You’ll also learn what to do when you do experience an allergic reaction.

Asthma Testing & Treatment

If daily activities cause coughing or difficulty breathing, see a specialist at Essentia Health for expert asthma testing. Count on us to assess your breathing and diagnose your type of asthma, so you can keep your symptoms under control. Your care plan may include:

  • Identifying your asthma triggers
  • Quick-relief medications to take when you have an asthma attack
  • Long-term control medications to prevent symptoms
    • Inhaled corticosteroids
    • Injectable medicines, such as XOLAIR® (for allergic asthma) and NUCALA® (for severe asthma)

Meet with your doctor or a certified asthma educator to learn how to effectively manage your asthma

Medica Insight: Asthma

Medical Insight: Asthma Video Transcript

Text, Medical Insight. The Essentia Health logo appears, consisting of three leaves in a circle.

Welcome to Medical Insight, a weekly health care feature brought to you by the experts at Essentia Health. Here's your host, Louie St. George.

A man in a suit and tie

LOUIE ST. GEORGE: Today at Medical insight, Dr. Jamie Conniff talks about an increasingly common affliction. Asthma, which is a disease of the lungs that can affect your ability to breathe. DR. JAMIE CONNIFF:

Dr. Jamie Conniff, Family Medicine

Classic symptoms that we talk about for asthma are shortness of breath, wheezing, cough.

A child in a bike helmet next to a lake puts their hand on their chest and breathes hard.

Those are the things that you look for. Sometimes it's subtle, sometimes it is a child who is getting winded a lot more quickly than their friends. Or it's somebody who wheezes a lot more than their siblings do after getting a viral infection. The mainstay treatment for asthma, from the medication perspective, is inhalers. Those are medicines that are delivered through a device that you hold up to your mouth, and breathe in and inhale into your lungs. LOUIE ST. GEORGE: Diagnosis is important so that it can be treated properly. At Essentia every patient has an asthma action plan. DR. JAMIE CONNIFF: It is one of those kind of scary conditions. Because you can feel fine and still be at risk for having severe exacerbation that could lead to hospitalization, intubation in the intensive care unit, and even death. We live in this beautiful part of the world where we want to be spending time outside. Exercising and enjoying the outdoors. And if we can't do that because we can't breathe when we go outside, then that's a problem. If we're ignoring symptoms of asthma, and then the symptoms are getting in the way of that enjoyment. It's really this cascading effect on our health that goes beyond just the lungs to our overall well-being. Now and decades down the road. LOUIE ST. GEORGE: For Medical Insight, I'm Louie St. George. SPEAKER 1: To learn more about this and other health topics, visit

The Essentia Health logo appears, consisting of three leaves in a circle. Text, Essentia Health. Medical Insight

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