Do you have a stuffy or runny nose, itchy, watery eyes, sneezing or a scratchy throat? You may have called it a “cold” but allergies may be the real problem. Approximately 20-40% of the population has allergies.
There are several ways to identify what’s causing your allergy symptoms. A blood test called the RAST test can identify your body’s reaction to a number of trees, grasses and weeds common to our geographic area. A blood sample is drawn and sent to the lab with results available in a few days. Another method of testing is commonly called skin testing. Specific antigens are injected under the skin and the skin reaction is observed. The results of this test are frequently seen during the testing appointment but may also be noted in the days immediately following the skin test. There are other blood tests which will help to determine the body’s response to some foods and additives in food.
OTHER CAUSES OF “ALLERGY” SYMPTOMS:
Allergy symptoms are sometimes not entirely due to pollens or animal danders but are the body’s reaction to other aspects of the environment, which includes smoke, chemicals and dust, to name a few. In addition, medications (including over-the-counter remedies), recent viral illnesses and aging may also contribute to an individual’s symptoms. This is known as the “allergic load” which can further exacerbate your symptoms.
Many people try to get through allergy season with over-the-counter (OTC) medications to stop their runny nose or nasal congestion. Some of these OTC medications can be very effective. Other medications are available only by prescription. Most of the newer antihistamines only need to be taken once a day and have fewer side effects, such as drowsiness. Because there are so many available options, patients should work closely with their physician to find the medication or combination of medications that works best for them. Steroid nasal sprays are effective when used daily during allergy season…not just when you experience nasal congestion.
Taking care of allergy symptoms has never been easier or more effective. And there are more options than ever. The Triangle recently received the distinction of being one of the top ten areas for allergies. If you suffer from allergy symptoms, this doesn’t come as a surprise. What you may not know is that there are a number of options available to help you control these symptoms. Triangle ENT and Allergy and Dr. Robert Taylor are here to help.
Patients with mild, seasonal symptoms might opt to use one of the many medications which are now available without a prescription from your doctor. But, if you have symptoms which affect your day-to-day life, keep you from participating in activities you enjoy and you have taken medication, you may be ready to try another approach. Dr. Taylor offers three types of treatment.
The more traditional treatment is allergy immunotherapy, commonly called allergy shots. These weekly shots work by gradually increasing the strength of the allergens to which the body is exposed. Another way to achieve the same results is to give the allergens sublingually; in drops under the tongue. This method of treatment is safe, portable, easy to use and is ideal for younger patients and those patients who may be afraid of shots. The patient gets to “drink” their allergy shot!
Another type of allergy treatment, LDA (Low Dose Allergen) is an injection containing a combination of extremely low dose allergens given with an enzyme containing beta-glucuronidase. This immunotherapy likely acts on the T-cells to create a longer lasting immunity than traditional allergy shots. LDA shots are initially given every 2-3 months and then less often as symptoms subside. LDA can be used to treat pollens, pet danders, molds, foods, many food additives, and most common chemicals and perfumes.
For more information on any of these allergy treatments, please call our office at 919-620-7800 and make an appointment with Dr. Taylor.