Allergy Care At CornerStone Ear, Nose & Throat
Each year, millions of Americans suffer from allergies (allergic rhinitis) that lead to sneezing, nasal congestion, runny nose, watery and itchy eyes, postnasal drip, and headaches. CornerStone Ear, Nose & Throat can help determine if you actually have allergies, and if so, what allergens are causing your symptoms. We can then develop a plan to manage your allergies either with medications or with allergy immunotherapy treatment to desensitize and change how your immune system responds to those allergens.
Causes Of Allergies
When an allergy-causing substance, known as an allergen, enters the body, the immune system can cause a series of physical reactions, including blood vessel dilation and the production of inflammatory substances or mediators, such as histamine. Histamine causes common allergy symptoms such as itchy and watery eyes, sneezing, stuffy nose, and a runny nose.
Common respiratory allergens are:
- Pollens (trees, grasses, and weeds)
- Dust Mites
- Animal Danders
As otolaryngologists, we focus on treating respiratory airborne allergies because they affect the nasal and throat structures.
Many people are affected by seasonal allergies due to pollen. Spring usually brings allergens caused by tree pollen, such as elm, maple, birch, poplar, beech, ash, oak, walnut, sycamore, cypress, hickory, pecan, cottonwood, and elder. Late in the spring, pollens often come from grasses, such as timothy, orchard, red top, sweet vernal, Bermuda, johnson, and some bluegrasses. One of the major causes of allergic rhinitis in the United States is ragweed pollen, which begins to appear in early to mid-autumn.
Yearlong (Perennial) Allergens
Dust mites, pet dander, and molds are allergens that can cause allergy symptoms all year long. If a house has poor ventilation, symptoms tend to be worse in the winter. Molds are present in the environment throughout the year and grow both outdoors and indoors. Dust mites and pet dander can be particularly bad when the heat comes on in the fall and these allergens become airborne in the house, school, or place of work.
Over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants can often be helpful in controlling allergy symptoms. If these medications do not provide relief and your allergy symptoms continue to have an impact on your life, the physicians of CornerStone Ear, Nose & Throat can help you with a treatment plan for relief.
What To Expect
When you come to CornerStone Ear, Nose & Throat to be assessed for allergies we:
- Complete a thorough physical examination of the ears, nose, and throat
- Evaluate the nasal and sinus anatomy
- Ask about sinus infections and other related illnesses
- Strive to determine if infection or structural problems such as a deviated septum or nasal polyps may be an underlying cause of your nasal and sinus symptoms in addition to allergies
If appropriate, we also test for specific respiratory allergens. These allergy tests, which are simple and are completed in our office, allow us to determine if allergy immunotherapy is indicated. Allergy immunotherapy involves gradually exposing patients to increasing doses of the actual allergens that cause the allergic reactions. Over time, allergy immunotherapy usually reduces or eliminates the allergic symptoms and the need for ongoing medications.
We offer subcutaneous immunotherapy (allergy shots) or sublingual immunotherapy (allergy drops under the tongue). Both adult and pediatric patients at CornerStone Ear, Nose & Throat experience great results with allergy drops because they can be taken at home and do not require weekly shots and visits to a doctor’s office for allergy care.
CornerStone Ear, Nose & Throat is the first and one of the only practices in the Charlotte region to offer allergy drops. We have found allergy drops to be a very effective treatment alternative for children and busy adults with allergies.