Allergies – About
Forty-five million Americans suffer from a recurring problem, we all know as allergies. Runny nose, nasal congestion, itchy and runny eyes, post-nasal drip, sinus problems, asthma, and eczema are the most common symptoms of an allergy problem. Allergy symptoms appear when our body’s immune system begins to respond to a particular substance as it were a dangerous invader. These invaders are called an allergen. Once these allergens get into our body, our normal response is to send antibodies to get rid of the allergen. The battle between the allergen and antibodies end up releasing chemical mediators, also known as histamine, into the bloodstream. Those chemical mediators eventually cause changes to the body in which we produce the symptoms we feel. Those who suffer from allergy symptoms might experience problems year round while others only have problems during particular seasons. How do you know if you have allergies? The Ear, Nose and Throat Center can diagnose and treat your allergies.
Allergies – Diagnosis
Skin testing is a safe and easy way to determine which allergens are causing your symptoms by a simple scratch test. The scratch test uses a concentrated liquid of common allergens, such as pollen, mold, dust mites and animal dander.
We use the multi-test method. This method allows us to place the allergen on the end of a multi-prong plastic device, which is then firmly placed on the skin for 3-5 seconds then removed leaving the allergen solution and mild scratches in place.
Allergies – Treatment
Allergies are rarely life threatening, but often cause lost workdays, decreased work efficiency, poor school performance, and less enjoyment of life. It is common for allergy sufferers to develop sinus or respiratory infections if allergy symptoms are not controlled.
A number of medications are useful in the treatment of allergy including antihistamine, nasal decongestant sprays, steroid sprays, and saline sprays. The medical management of allergy also includes counseling in proper environmental control. Based on a detailed history and thorough examination, your doctor may advise testing to determine the specific substances to which you are allergic.
The treatments employed by your otolaryngologists will depend on the materials to which you are allergic and the degree of your sensitivity to them.
The only “cure” available for inhalant allergies is the administration of immunotherapy (injections, sublingual drops and oral toothpaste) that build up protective antibodies to specific allergens (pollens,molds, animal danders, dust,etc.). Your physician will oversee your progress and care for any other nasal and sinus disorders that may contribute to your symptoms.
Tips for Controlling Your Environment:
- Wear a pollen mask when mowing grass or house cleaning (most drugstores sell them).
- Change the air filters monthly in heating and air conditioning systems, and/or install an air purifier.
- Keep windows and doors closed during heavy pollen seasons.
- Rid your home of indoor plants and other sources of mildew.
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