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Allergy testing
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Sinus Surgery and Allergies

Seasonal and perennial allergies are usually not life-threatening. Still, they can seriously impact your quality of living. Fortunately, advances in allergy testing and treatments offer long term relief of the irritating symptoms of inhalant allergies. Learn more about allergy testing, such as skin allergy tests, and treatments, such as allergy shots and drops, from the Ear, Nose, and Throat Center in Stamford, CT.

SYMPTOMS OF PERENNIAL AND SEASONAL ALLERGIES

Allergies affect 50 million people in the United States. Allergies are often genetic and develop when the body’s immune system overreacts to harmless substances. This immune response may cause several annoying symptoms, including:

  • Sneezing
  • Nasal congestion (stuffy nose)
  • Runny nose
  • Post-nasal drip
  • Itchy eyes, nose, mouth, throat, or ears
  • Swollen, watery, or red eyes
  • Dry cough
  • Sore throat
  • Asthma
  • Chronic sinus infections (sinusitis)
  • Chronic ear infections

ALLERGY TESTING

Before treating your allergies, it is essential to identify the cause of your problem. Allergy testing is available from the Otolaryngologists at the Ear, Nose, & Throat Center in Stamford, CT. After taking a detailed medical history, your ENT may advise an allergy skin test to determine your allergens and the severity of your allergy.

Allergy skin tests introduce small amounts of specific allergens  (pollen, dander, ragweed, etc.) to the skin via a prick or injection. If allergic to these allergens, your skin exhibits an immune response, such as swelling or redness at the test site.

Another type of allergy testing is blood tests. Blood testing for allergies is prescribed for individuals who cannot undergo skin allergy testing.

ALLERGY TREATMENTS

Allergy treatments include allergy medications such as decongestants, antihistamines, and steroids. Allergy meds alleviate symptoms but are not long-term solutions. Medications also come with side effects.

Immunotherapy is the gold standard for long-term relief of allergies. The treatment introduces small amounts of allergens to the body to elicit the creation of antibodies. The amount of allergen is calculated to cause an immune response without causing a full-blown allergic reaction. The amount of allergen is incrementally increased, allowing the immune system to slowly build up a tolerance to the allergens, gradually diminishing your allergy symptoms.

Immunotherapy is effective on inhalant allergies. These include:

  • Seasonal allergies caused by the pollen of trees, flowers, and grasses.
  • Perennial allergies, which occur year-round. Indoor allergens commonly cause this type of allergy. These allergens include mold, animal dander, dust mites, etc.

There are two types of immunotherapy for allergies: subcutaneous immunotherapy (allergy shots) and sublingual immunotherapy (allergy tablets or drops).

ALLERGY SHOTS

Allergy shots are administered in two phases: the build-up phase and the maintenance phase. Allergy shots begin with the build-up phase. During this phase, your ENT injects small doses of the allergen one to two times a week. Each week, the ENT increases the amount of allergen injected until the target dose is reached. This phase typically takes six months to one year to complete.

Once the target dose is reached, the patient enters the maintenance phase. This phase requires fewer office visits. Injections are given once or twice a month for one to two years.

ALLERGY DROPS & TABLETS

Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) is an alternative therapy to allergy shots. SLIT consists of tablets that dissolve under the tongue. The FDA currently approves tablets for the relief of allergies stemming from ragweed, dust mites, and northern pasture grasses. Allergy drops may be used off-label to alleviate allergies.

Sublingual immunotherapy is administered daily. Allergy tablets and drops can be taken at home. This is ideal for people who travel or cannot conveniently make weekly visits to the ENT’s office. Sublingual immunotherapy may be suitable for children who cannot tolerate injections. This form of immunotherapy takes longer than allergy shots to become effective.

IMMUNOTHERAPY RESULTS

Allergy symptoms should improve during the first year of your immunotherapy treatment during the build-up phase. Significant improvement is typically seen by the second year during the maintenance phase. By the third year, most patients become desensitized to their allergens and enjoy considerable relief from their allergy symptoms.

Some patients experience permanent relief, even after discontinuing their immunotherapy. Other patients need to continue maintenance shots for long-term allergy relief.

ALLERGY TESTING + TREATMENT NEAR ME

Stop suffering from seasonal, perennial, and other forms of inhalant allergies. Contact the Ear, Nose & Throat Center in Stamford, CT, to schedule allergy testing. Reach out online by completing the form below or call 203-353-0000 to schedule your appointment.

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