What You Need to Know
Allergies are a result of your body’s sensitivity to elements in the environment like dust and pollen. With allergies affecting one in four, they are among the nation’s most common and costly health problem. Our team of allergy trained ENT physicians, nurses and nurse practitioners work together to evaluate each patient’s health history and current sensitivities, and from there we develop a personalized treatment plan. Treatment of allergies includes avoidance, medication, allergen immunotherapy, and dietary modifications. We are dedicated to staying on the cutting edge of allergy identification, testing and treatment.
As ENT and allergy healthcare providers, we are able to not only identify and treat patients with seasonal and perennial allergies, we are also able to provide more in-depth treatment options. These options can include medications for allergy relief, immunotherapy (allergy shots), nasal endoscopies (inspection of nose and sinuses using a camera and scope), in-office procedures to help improve sinus health and decrease nasal drainage, as well as surgery in the operating room to improve nasal congestion. This makes us unique in the comprehensive treatment options patients have in one location.
- Runny, itchy, watery eyes and nose (hay fever)
- Nasal congestion
- Post nasal drip
- Recurrent sinus infections
- Nasal polyps
- Chronic or recurrent ear infections, congestion or popping
- Sinus headaches
- Airborne pollen from trees, grasses or weeds
- Mold and fungus
- Pet dander from cats and dogs
- Household dust
Testing and Diagnosis
Initial treatment for seasonal and non-seasonal allergies is maximal medical therapy with medications. If this fails, patients undergo allergy testing and possibly a CT scan of the sinuses.
We test for 35 different allergens popular within the Houston area. These allergen include mold, pet dander, tree pollen, weeds and grasses. Testing involves a series of skin tests which involves scratching the skin surface with a small plastic device minimizing intradermal allergen dilution testing (small injections under the skin) for accurate and safe results for individualized patient treatments. This unique testing method dramatically reduces the number of needle injections compared to traditional methods.
Analyzing the results from the allergy testing alongside the patient’s history and symptoms, as well as a comprehensive ENT physical examination, we can determine what is causing the allergy symptoms as well as what treatment plan is most appropriate.
Treatment and Management
Avoidance is always a first step in any kind of allergen sensitivity. Allergy testing does not always mean allergy treatment is necessary. Knowing what triggers your allergy symptoms can lead to accurate avoidance methods that may be sufficient to relieve seasonal allergy symptoms. Reduction in household dusts and dander as well as mold and fungus is also an effective way to reduce some of these symptoms such as runny nose, congestion and itchy/watery eyes.
Allergy medications only treat the allergy symptoms, not the actual cause. Antihistamines, decongestants and prescription nasal sprays can help control allergy symptoms, but can produce unwanted side effects. Long-term chronic use of medications is also usually necessary to control symptoms.
- Subcutaneous Immunotherapy (SCIT)
Over time, it may be possible to alter a person’s excessive response to these allergens, both improving symptoms and decreasing the need for medications and allergen avoidance. By creating individualized patient serums we give treatments once every week. This treatment is administered and monitored by our staff. If appropriate, patients may also be trained to give themselves their treatment at home.
In office procedures and surgery may be used in conjunction with allergy therapy to achieve optimal results. Using the most advanced in-office and operating room technology, we can provide patients with many different options that are most appropriate for maximal relief of nasal congestion, nasal drainage, facial pain and sinus infections.