Allergies afflict millions of Americans, and can appear, disappear and even appear again at any age. Allergies are often inherited, and are brought on by a reaction to something eaten or in the environment that does not affect most others.
The range of allergy symptoms are vast, from the usual sneezing, runny nose, nasal stuffiness and itchy, watery eyes to more serious symptoms like chronic “sinus” problems, postnasal drip, head congestion, frequent “colds”, recurring ear infections, hearing loss, dizziness, chronic cough and asthma. Things like stomach and intestinal problems, skin rashes, chronic headaches and fatigue can also be symptoms of allergies.
An otolaryngic allergist is able to diagnose and treat disorders of the upper respiratory tract (ear, nose and throat) caused by allergic conditions. Because these allergists are ear, nose and throat surgeons and specialists, other non-allergic diseases of the upper respiratory tract can also be diagnosed and treated.
The three basic and accepted approaches to allergy care can be categorized as:
- Avoidance of the offending allergens (things which the person is allergic to).
- Pharmacotherapy (medications like antihystamines, decongestants, prescription nasal sprays, and leukotriene inhibitors can frequently control allergy symptoms.)
- Immunotherapy (allergy shots and desensitization). When avoidance and medication is not affective, your otolaryngic allergists can alter the body’s overactive response by carefully challenging your immune system through regular injections of the actual allergens. After allergy testing has revealed what the patient is allergic to, treatment may begin. Over time this treatment may alter a person’s excessive response to environmental allergens, and improve symptoms while decreasing the need for medications and allergen avoidance.