Allergies Diagnosed and Treated
Here are some basic facts about allergies and what you and your ENT specialist can do about it. Read below for more information.
What is an allergy?
An allergy is the body’s increased sensitivity to substances called allergens. An allergen is a substance that triggers an allergic reaction. Allergens “invade” the body by being swallowed, inhaled, injected or absorbed through the skin. Common allergens include dust, mold, pollen and animal dander.
What causes allergies?
Your body’s immune system produces antibodies to defend against infection, disease and invaders like allergens. In most cases, when an allergic person is exposed to an allergen over a period of time, an antibody called immunoglobulin E (IGE) is activated, causing the release of inflammatory chemicals that produce allergic symptoms.
We Are Here to Help
If you believe you might have inhalant allergies, ENT Associates of Savannah P.C. can help. We offer allergy testing of 45 inhalant allergens. We can also provide an effective treatment plan and helpful hints to make living with allergies a lot easier. Ask us for more information.
What are the symptoms?
Most people think of allergies as “hay fever,” with nasal stuffiness, runny nose, sneezing and itchy, watery eyes. However, allergies can also cause symptoms such as:
- Head and nasal congestion
- Nasal itching
- Nasal and throat drainage (post nasal drip)
- Dark circles, swelling under eyes
- Recurrent ear infections
- Fluctuating hearing loss
- Recurrent sinus infections
- Nasal polyps
- Cold-like symptoms for more than 10 days
- Chronic cough
- Chronic fatigue
- Intestinal and stomach problems
Your ENT physician may refer you to have an allergy work-up for inhalant allergens and if needed, allergy management. Your test will take up to two hours to complete and we will be able to inform you of the results at the conclusion of your test. The inhalant allergens we test for include: dust, mites, molds, pollens (weeds, trees, grasses) epidermal (animal dander, feathers, fur). Treatment for allergies requires a minimum of three years.
Diagnosing Your Allergy
Your ENT specialist will evaluate your history and physical examinations when he is considering allergies. To be certain of the diagnosis and prescribe effective treatment, findings are confirmed by tests that identify the specific offending antigen.
To test for allergies, we use the test procedure called intradermal dilutional testing, often referred to as IDT. There is very little discomfort from this technique. A series of small injections, using very fine needles, are made on the upper outside of the arm. A small amount of the tested antigen is injected. The result is a series of bumps which look like small mosquito bites. If the bumps increase in size after a short period of time, it indicates a likely allergy.
Treatment of Allergies
Despite the advances in allergy care over the past decades, there are still only three basic, accepted approaches to allergy care:
- Avoidance of the offending allergens
- Pharmacotherapy (medications used to influence the allergic reaction)
- Immunotherapy (allergy shots or desensitization)