Allergies affect over 50 million people in the United States. Our doctors practice allergy because of the serious side effects of allergies on the ears, nose and throat. Allergies can contribute to nasal polyps, sinus infections, ear infections and asthma, and may even aggravate inner ear dizziness. Allergy symptoms can include itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, runny nose, congestion and coughing.
There are three approaches to treating allergies: medications, allergy injections (hyposensitization) and environmental controls. Antihistamines and decongestants are often helpful in managing symptoms. We recommend controlling your environment as much as possible to reduce your exposure to airborne allergens. These are such things as vacuuming regularly, showering after being outside and using dehumidifiers to control mold growth. If your symptoms cannot be controlled by these measures, allergy testing can be done to identify the triggering allergens.
Our allergy department performs two types of testing, skin prick or a blood test. The skin prick method is most commonly used; it is essentially painless and provides immediate test results. You will be required to discontinue antihistamines 72 hours prior to the testing. Certain medications can interfere with skin testing causing a negative result.
If the test results are positive, your doctor may recommend allergy injections. All antigens are mixed to specifically target the allergens that test positive. Before treatment begins, the nursing staff will perform a safety test with the new antigen and instruct the patient and family on environmental controls. Allergy injections are given on a weekly basis and are usually taken for three years or longer.
If you are experiencing allergy symptoms, please make an appointment to see one of our physicians.