Most people will suffer from an allergy at some point in their lives. An allergy is a genetic condition causing the body to overreact to harmless substances in the environment called allergens. Common allergies include dust mites, pet dander, insect venom, food and pollen. When a person who has allergies encounters an allergen, the immune system responds as though they are dangerous invaders and produces antibodies. These antibodies bind to specialized cells called mast cells. Once the body is re-exposed to the same allergen, it binds to the antibodies on the surface of the mast cells and triggers the release of certain chemicals like histamine. Immunotherapy can help to treat allergies.
Whether seasonal or constant, chronic nasal congestion and postnasal drip are often due to allergies and may be complicated by chronic sinus or middle ear disease. Allergies may also cause dizziness, hearing loss, weeping ear canals, headaches, and chronic sore throats.
The symptoms produced by allergens can be mild or life-threatening in susceptible people. The most common symptoms of an allergy include hay fever, asthma and eczema.
Most nasal allergies are called hay fever. This allergy causes the lining or the nose to become irritated, causing the sufferer to sneeze frequently and the nose becomes stuffed up or runs. The eyes may be itchy or watery and the ears might feel blocked up. Hay fever most frequently occurs when the trees, grasses and weeds produce pollen in the spring, summer or fall.
Asthma affects breathing and the lungs. Symptoms include wheezing, coughing and being short of breath.
This inflammation of the skin can take the form of red patches, crusts and scales and can feel itchy. The condition can occur from eating certain foods.
Allergy patients’ progress is observed with specialized ear, nose and throat examinations. These conditions can be managed with medication or surgery.
Nonsurgical allergy treatment typically involves nasal spray and antihistamines, which may be in the form of pills or eye drops.
An important treatment for allergy control is to attempt to remove triggers from the environment, such as frequent dusting, closing windows, keeping pets off your bed, and avoiding places where other allergens are in high volume. Your doctor will discuss specific behavior modifications you should make in relation to your allergies which may be useful to control the symptoms.
Immunotherapy can help your body defend against specific allergens you are sensitive to by introducing a small quantity of the trigger to stimulate the immune system. While undergoing immunotherapy, you will be exposed to slightly higher quantities of the trigger to keep producing a better defense against triggers you may have to allergens such as pollen or ragweed. Immunotherapy is available in the form of weekly injections or oral medication.
At West Medical we are experienced in the full range of allergy treatments from the most conservative to various surgical options. Surgical treatment for allergies may include polyp removal, placement of middle ear ventilating tubes, treatment of sinus infection and straightening of the nasal septum.
Also known as SLIT, sublingual immunotherapy is the next generation therapy for allergy sufferers. In the past, the only treatment for allergies was avoidance of the allergens, taking medication or submitting to allergy shots. Today, the same benefit of allergy shot therapy can be administered as drops in the comfort and convenience of your own home. SLIT has been used in Europe for over 30 years, but it is relatively new to the United States. The drops work the same way as the shots by desensitizing you to the substance that causes your allergic reactions. We can treat a wide variety of allergies with SLIT, such as dust, grass and tree pollen, or pet dander.
After performing allergy testing to determine what substances may be responsible for your allergy symptoms, we then perform further testing to determine how sensitive you are to those allergens. Allergy drops are custom made to treat your specific allergies based on this information.
Allergies can be a frustrating and painful part of life, but there is hope in the form of a wide range of treatment available from West Medical's ENT doctors. To learn more about Los Angeles allergy treatment and immunotherapy, please contact our West Medical offices at (855) 690-0565, and our helpful medical staff will answer any questions you have.
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