Each year millions of patients including both adults and children suffer from allergy symptoms. Charlotte is one of the most beautiful places in the world, but it also has a wide variety of allergens that can cause significant allergy symptoms. An allergy is an immune system reaction that causes an inflammatory response to what is normally a benign substance, referred to as an allergen. Respiratory airborne allergens include pollens that cause allergy symptoms with seasonal changes. Tree pollens are most prominent in the spring, grass pollens are most prominent in the summer, and weed pollens are most prominent in the fall. Other allergens are present throughout the year and include dust mites, mold spores, and animal dander.
Allergy symptoms caused by respiratory airborne allergens can affect the nose, sinuses, throat, and ears. In some patients, allergies can also trigger symptoms of asthma. Common symptoms include:
- Nasal congestion
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Sinus pain and pressure
- Nasal drainage
- Itchy or plugged ears
Evaluation & Diagnosis
A detailed history and examination by an ENT physician can help determine if you may be experiencing symptoms from allergies. Based on your symptoms, your ENT physician may recommend allergy testing. Allergy testing is most commonly performed with skin prick testing in the office. Skin prick testing is easy to tolerate for both children and adults. The results of the allergy testing can determine what allergens patients are allergic to.
After identifying specific allergy triggers, the first course of action is to create a plan to treat the symptoms. Avoidance of allergens can improve symptoms. In many cases it is not practical or possible to fully avoid allergens that cause allergy symptoms. There are a variety of medications that can be used to help treat the symptoms. These include:
- Nasal sprays
- Eye drops
- Nasal saline irrigations
If avoidance measures and medications don’t control your symptoms or if your symptoms are severe, your ENT physician may recommend allergy immunotherapy. The ENT physicians at Queen City Ear Nose and Throat offer both allergy shots and allergy drops. Allergy drops are also commonly referred to as sublingual immunotherapy. Allergy shots are a series of injections performed in your ENT physician’s office. Allergy drops can be administered at home and are done by placing drops under the tongue. Allergy drops are a great alternative to allergy shots for both children and busy working adults. Both allergy shots and allergy drops expose your body to gradually increasing amounts of allergens resulting in desensitization or tolerance to what you are allergic to.