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Allergy Season

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.

Spring and Summer Time Allergies Are Fast Approaching...


Allergy symptoms that can occur primarily in the spring, summer, or fall are frequently the result of inhaled pollens. Tree pollens in the spring, grass pollen in the early summer and weed pollens in the late summer and fall provide a predictable pattern of symptoms often helpful in identifying the offending pollens. Pollen counts are higher on dry, hot and windy days. Pollen counts decrease during rain, increase after rain and are highest between 5 and 10 am. Unfortunately exposure to pollen is not limited to outdoors because this is carried inside on clothing, shoes and pets and can also enter through open doors and windows.


Molds or fungi are organisms that thrive on decaying organic matter. They are present year around, especially during spring and fall. Most molds produce spores that become airborne and may cay cause inhalant allergies. They thrive in warm, dark, moist areas. Places such as bathrooms, poorly vented laundry rooms and closets as well as in basements, kitchens, window frames, refrigerator drain pans, old books, plants, leaking roofs, plumbing leaks and deteriorating carpets provide moisture which allow molds to thrive. Humid, warm air fosters mold growth; therefore, control of your home's temperature and humidity can have great impact on your allergen exposure in the home.

Take Control of Your Environment…

The first, most basic treatment step, once an allergen has been identified, is to eliminate or avoid it if possible. This is something referred to as "avoidance therapy" or "institution of environmental controls." Controlling the environment is often overlooked but generally a very useful modality in the treatment of allergic rhinitis and asthma. While it may not be impossible to completely eliminate all the allergens or other substance that trigger your allergies, you can do great deal to minimize exposure and thereby reduce symptoms.

An Environmental Control Measure Checklist

  • Keep indoor humidity between 48 and 52 percent. You may need to purchase hygrometers that measure humidity, and dehumidifiers, or in rare cases even a humidifier if the air is too dry.
  • Keep rain gutters clear and correct drainage problems around the home to reduce moisture and mold growth.
  • Clean up any water spills or leaks inside the home promptly and repair leaking faucets and drains. Periodically check food stored in the refrigerator and discard anything that shows signs of spoilage or mold. Install exhaust fans in the bathroom and over the stove to remove excess moisture and other odors.
  • Avoid yard work in the early morning when pollen counts are higher. Use pollen filtering mask and gloves when you have to work in the yard. If you do spend time outside during periods of high pollen, change clothes and shower when you return inside.
  • Keep your car clean by vacuuming the seats and carpets regularly. Try to use auto air condition instead of opening windows during pollen seasons.

For More Information...

  • Learn more about the treatments and staff of our Allergy Center.
  • Learn about a number of treatments that provide effective and significant relief for allergy suffers.
  • Is Fido or Fluffy the cause of your allergies? Living with Pets explains how to reduce allergens caused by animal dander.
  • Think you might have food allergies? Take our food allergy questionnaire to evaluate your symptoms.