An estimated one in five Americans suffers from allergies. When the pollen is high, and the weather is changing, are you one of the many people who experience symptoms that are triggered by these invisible particles?
The truth is that allergy symptoms can be a reaction that occurs because of so many causes. If you want to stop the symptoms, the best solution is to work with an experienced ENT who can help you identify the source of your allergic response.
Allergy Symptoms and Causes
Allergy symptoms occur because of a histamine reaction within your body. When exposed to allergens, the immune system responds in defense and releases different chemicals and antibodies. This reaction causes a variety of symptoms, such as:
- Nasal congestion
- Runny nose
Common allergens are present in the air and worsen during certain times of the year. For example, you might be allergic to mold, pollen, animal dander, dust, or other elements in the air.
Seasonal vs. Environmental Allergies
If you have seasonal allergies, the symptoms worsen during certain times of the year. For example, when certain trees or plants are blooming, more of your triggers are in the air, and the symptoms worsen. The symptoms will go down when the season is over.
On the other hand, some people experience allergy responses throughout the year. For example, if you are allergic to mold and there is mold in your home, the symptoms never seem to go away. Or, pet dander can be another trigger that keeps you in a constant allergic reaction.
ENT Diagnosis: Thorough Examination and Testing
Most primary care physicians have a general understanding of allergies and available treatments. But they work with so many patients on a variety of health concerns that they don’t have the specialized experience you can get from an ear, nose, and throat doctor.
ENTs work with upper respiratory issues all day long. They understand the nuances of what affects the ears, nose, and throat. Additionally, their specialized training gives them unique insights, testing, and diagnostic approaches to get to the root issues.
When you work with an ENT, the first step is to determine an accurate diagnosis. Then, instead of giving you medication to hide the symptoms, the goal is to understand the underlying cause. Then they design a treatment plan that provides immediate relief and long-term results.
Through this process, an ENT can help you identify potential allergy triggers. The treatment plan enables you to get ahead of the symptoms before they worsen. Our experienced ENT team partners with each patient to optimize lifestyle, health, and comfort as much as possible.
Treatment Options for Allergy Management
When you are suffering from allergies, an ENT is a great resource to help you find relief. Here are a few of the treatment options that might be discussed – divided into three categories:
Preventing Allergy Triggers
The least invasive solution for managing allergies is minimizing your exposure to known allergens. An ENT can help you identify the specific allergens that are triggering your symptoms by performing allergy testing. Then, you can proactively avoid these triggers.
For example, if you are suffering from a pollen allergy (hay fever or seasonal allergies), then you can reduce the allergens in your home by:
- Keeping the doors and windows closed
- Using a HEPA air filter to remove allergens from the air
- Staying inside when the allergen counts are high
- Washing your bedding frequently
- Minimizing carpets and rugs in your home since they can trap allergens
- Avoiding cigarette smoke
This preventive strategy might include other home remedies, such as nasal irrigation to reduce allergen irritation in your sinuses.
Medications for Allergy Management
The next step in treatment is to use over-the-counter or prescription medications to manage your allergy symptoms. This treatment approach provides short-term relief but doesn’t cure allergies. Medications are most effective for people with mild or moderate (not severe) allergy symptoms.
Common medications for allergy treatment include:
- Antihistamines to block histamine responses in the body
- Decongestants to reduce the pressure and build up in your sinuses
- Corticosteroid nasal sprays to reduce inflammation in the nasal lining
- Eye drops to reduce symptoms that are affecting the eyes
Other Treatments for Allergies
If prevention and medications aren’t enough, your ENT might recommend other treatments to help your symptoms. These treatments are a little more invasive but can produce good results:
- Immunotherapy: A process of exposure to several allergens, either with a tablet under the tongue or an injection in a shot
- Surgery: While surgery doesn’t treat the allergy issue, certain surgical treatments can improve breathing and reduce symptoms. Surgery is the last option for treatment if a patient is still suffering after minimally-invasive treatments.
Why Work with an ENT for Allergy Treatments?
Mild allergies might seem like a minor inconvenience, but these issues can disrupt your life when the symptoms worsen. Do you feel like your allergies are impacting your quality of life? Then it might be time to talk to an ENT for diagnosis and a treatment plan.
Ongoing, untreated allergies can have these negative consequences on your life:
- Fatigue and difficulty sleeping
- Difficulty concentrating or focusing
- Missed days at work or school
You don’t have to continue suffering from these symptoms. Instead, schedule an appointment with a local ENT so you can find the ideal treatment plan.
When Allergies Cause Chronic Sinusitis
One risk of untreated allergies is how the sinuses and nasal passages are affected by congestion. The inflammation and irritation create the optimal conditions for the development of sinus infections.
If you are experiencing chronic sinusitis, it’s important to talk to your ENT about immediate treatments to clear up the infection. Also, a longer-term treatment plan is necessary to manage the allergies and prevent future infections.
This two-step approach is the best way to help you feel better and minimize the risk of recurring symptoms in the future. However, as long as the allergies are untreated, the continuing symptoms (runny nose, nasal irritation, etc.) will continue to increase the likelihood that you will develop sinus infections.
Schedule an Allergy Appointment with a Local ENT
You don’t need to suffer from ongoing allergy symptoms. If you want to feel better, schedule a consultation with an experienced ENT for a thorough diagnosis and treatment plan.
Our ENT services are available for families in the Collin County and Dallas areas. At Collin County Ear, Nose, and Throat, we work hard to provide full-service solutions for people of all ages. Schedule an exam at one of our convenient offices in Frisco or Plano, TX. Fill out the online appointment request form or call: (972) 596-4005.