Dr. Light serves allergy patients in Boynton Beach, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, and throughout South Florida.
Millions of Americans suffer from various types of allergies. There are thousands of allergens in our environment that cause allergy problems. A few common examples are seafood, freshly mowed grass, bee stings and the most common, dust. The difficulty with allergies is that they can appear at any time, at any age, and at any stage in life.
Adults and children alike can develop allergies. They can disappear for months, or even years, only to return later. Frequently an inherited condition, an allergy is a reaction by the immune system to food or something in the environment. Sneezing, runny noses, and itchiness are common allergy symptoms, but allergies are not limited to solely those discomforts.
More than just Hay Fever…
Many people think about allergies as a little Hay Fever. In reality, allergies can cause a number of symptoms. Some symptoms include:
- Postnasal drip
- Regular ear infections
- Loss of hearing
- Chronic cough
- Sinus problems
- Skin rashes
Surprisingly, complications of the stomach and intestines can also arise from certain allergies. Fortunately, you may be able to relieve some of these symptoms with the help of an Otolaryngic Allergist.
What is an “Otolaryngic Allergist”?
Otolaryngic Allergists are physicians who specialize in ears, noses, and throats. These specialists are experts in diagnosing and treating upper respiratory tract problems resulting from allergies. Not just anyone should visit an Otolaryngic Allergist, however. You should schedule an appointment with an Otolaryngic Allergist if the following issues or symptoms occur:
- You suffer from ear, nose, or throat symptoms
- When allergies or ear, nose, or throat symptoms aren’t under control
- Special diagnostic allergy tests are required
- Immunotherapy or other specialized treatments are necessary
- You suffer from similar ear, nose, or throat issues, such as fluid in the middle ear, disturbances in voice, deviated septum, enlarged tonsils, etc.
- Quality of life is seriously compromised
A physician can help you determine whether or not you have allergies. By reviewing a history of your symptoms, evaluating your diet, exercise, and your overall lifestyle habits, a physician can deduce whether you have an allergy. Allergy testing is required to make a definite diagnosis.
Most of the time, skin testing, a largely pain-free procedure, is used to diagnose allergies. Both a small applicator and a small needle are used in order to place the allergen both above and below the skin of the arm. Welts reveal the problematic allergens. If a patient is young or cannot endure skin testing, in-vitro allergy testing is also available. Allergy testing is important to determine and design a treatment plan suited to your specific needs.
Treatment of Allergies
No matter your allergy, treatment is available in three forms:
Naturally, avoidance is the simplest and most straightforward of all treatment options. After all, if you are not exposed to an allergen, then it will have no effect on you. Our knowledgeable medical staff will give you easy-to-remember techniques that can help to keep you away from harmful allergens.
If avoidance is not sufficient to ease your suffering, medication is the next treatment step. While medication will not eliminate your allergies entirely, it can help treat symptoms so that they are bearable. Nasal sprays, anti-leukotrienes, antihistamines, and decongestants are among possible medications.
Finally, immunotherapy is a great option when you cannot avoid your allergens nor find relief with medication. Immunotherapy, which is more commonly known as an “allergy shot”, can be highly successful. In fact, studies have shown that between 80-90% of patients experience an improvement in their condition with regular treatments.
Allergy shots expose the body to small doses of a specific allergen. Over time, those doses increase as the body “learns” how to overcome the negative impact of the allergen. Most patients receive immunotherapy treatments for three to five years, but the effects can last even longer. Sometimes, immunotherapy can even cure an allergy.
Concerned about your Allergies?
If you think you may have an allergy or would like treatment for an existing allergy, speak with our allergy specialist. Call us today at (561) 737-8584 and schedule an appointment with one of our allergists.