It is estimated that there are more than 60 million allergy sufferers in the United States…around 20% of the total population!
Albany ENT & Allergy Services offers comprehensive care for pediatric and adult allergy sufferers. We are in the unique position of combining extensive knowledge of ear, nose, and throat anatomy and physiology with comprehensive allergy training and skills so that you are properly diagnosed and treated.
During your visit, your doctor or physician assistant will carefully review both your personal and family health history along with your current symptoms and perform a detailed physical examination as well. In order to confirm your initial diagnosis, further testing may be necessary, including allergy skin testing and at times blood testing (IVAT). A trained team of physicians, physician assistants and nurses work closely together to ensure optimal allergy care to our patients.
Allergies occur when your immune system overreacts to something that you have been exposed to in the environment. The most common type of allergy is hay fever. Hay fever generally affects people in the spring and in the fall; however, there are numerous types of allergies and many of these can cause problems throughout the year, including food allergies, chemical hypersensitivity and contact allergies as well.
Some allergy symptoms include:
- Repeated sneezing
- Nasal and ear canal itching
- Nasal congestion
- Runny nose
- Dark circles under the eyes
- Mouth breathing
- A diminished or lost sense of taste or smell
- Cold-like symptoms that last for more than 10 days
- Symptoms that recur at the same time each year
- Recurrent ear infections
- Recurrent sinus infections
- Fluctuating hearing loss
- Chronic fatigue and sleep disruption
- Skin rashes
- Breathing problems
There are three primary approaches to the treatment of allergy. The first approach is to simply avoid the allergen. Unfortunately, this is not always possible, especially living in the Northeast.
The second approach is to use over-the-counter or prescription medications that may be recommended or prescribed by your physician or physician assistant to relieve your allergy symptoms. These may be antihistamines, decongestants and/or nasal sprays or drops.
The third approach is called immunotherapy. When avoidance or medications do not successfully control your allergy symptoms, your Physician may suggest pursuing immunotherapy.
Immunotherapy comes in two very different but equivalent forms – allergy shots administered in the physicians office, and allergy drops taken under the tongue at home (Sublingual Immunotherapy or SLIT). Both treatment options have been shown to be safe and effective. Through either shots or drops, your doctor can change your response to the allergen or allergens that are causing your allergy related problems. Over time, shots or drops will eliminate or greatly reduce your need for medications. Both shots and drops work by desensitizing the patient to the allergens in question. Some common allergens include the numerous types of pollen, mold and household allergens, as well as dog, cat and other pets’ hair and skin flakes (dander). Some of these are seasonal (pollen from grasses, weeds and trees, outdoor mold, outdoor insects) and some are year-round (animal dander, dust mites, mold, insects). For your safety, shots and testing are never performed without medical supervision in the office. Both shots and drops take between three to five years to reach maximum benefit.