Most of us have suffered or known someone who has suffered from allergy symptoms. These symptoms can range from irritating to life-threatening. Runny nose, itchy skin, watery eyes, congestion, coughing, sleeplessness and trouble breathing are just some examples.
Though allergies are common, the causes are often misunderstood by the sufferer. Pet dander, mold, pollen and specific foods are some of the most common triggers for symptoms. While over-the-counter medications can provide relief, they often have unwanted side effects. In addition, allergy sufferers who misidentify the causes of their own allergic reactions may not be choosing the best medications to address them.
The physicians at GNO-ENT Center can help you correctly identify the allergens that affect you and successfully treat your symptoms. By custom-formulating your medication and desensitizing your immune system to allergens, we can help ease your suffering so you can live life more fully.
What causes an allergic reaction?
Strange as it seems, those itchy eyes and that runny nose—even those closed lungs—are the result of your immune system trying to protect you. Whenever you are exposed to an allergen, your immune system decides whether or not it poses a threat to your body. Even if you have been exposed to an allergen many times in the past, your immune system may at some point determine that this latest exposure is different and prepare a response. On subsequent exposures, your system attacks the otherwise harmless allergen with antibodies. These antibodies activate mast cells that release histamine into your system, causing the allergy symptoms you experience in your sinuses, airways, skin or intestines.
Are allergies a serious problem?
Anything that impacts your quality of life should be taken seriously. Some allergy symptoms are certainly more immediately dangerous than others. But even seemingly mild allergies, if poorly managed, can lead to more serious problems—including sinusitis,ear infections and asthma.
How do you test for allergies?
Used for over 100 years, skin testing remains the most reliable form of identifying allergies. Conveniently, it is also quick and painless. During the test, a physician gently scratches the skin with a small comb containing the allergen in question (such as cat dander, mold or pollen). In as little as 15 minutes, the test reveals a result. If positive, the skin will display an itchy, reddish bump in the scratched area. Your physician can use this method to test for up to 50 allergens specific to your area so you can fully understand your symptoms, treat them effectively and modify your lifestyle or environment to decrease exposure.
Should children be tested for allergies?
Yes. Children ages 2 and older can undergo a skin test to determine their susceptibility to environmental allergens. This can be an important step in identifying triggers for asthma, conjunctivitis (pink eye), allergic pneumonia, rhinitis, sinusitis, urticaria (hives), excessive coughing, dermatitis, insect allergies, and more.
How are allergies treated?
Some allergy sufferers are able to manage their symptoms successfully with over-the-counter medications and antihistamines. However, many do not receive sufficient relief from these medications or they experience unwanted side-effects. That’s where GNO-ENT can help.
Because every patient is different, GNO-ENT Center custom formulates every medication dosage to specifically address your unique symptoms and reactions. We also offer long-term immunotherapy to desensitize your immune system to identified allergens.
What is immunotherapy?
Immunotherapy involves incrementally increasing a patient’s exposure to an allergen over a period of time, usually several months. Over time, the immune system becomes desensitized to the allergen, reducing the frequency and severity of the patient’s allergic reaction. While the duration of the therapy differs for every individual (ranging from a few months to a few years), the success rate of immunotherapy is very high: up to 85% of immunotherapy patients have reported a cure or noticeable reduction of their allergy symptoms.
Are allergy treatments covered by insurance?
Yes, most insurance plans cover allergy testing, medications and immunotherapy. When assessing the cost of treatment, the best question to ask might be, “How much does it cost to NOT treat allergy symptoms?” When considering days off work and lost productivity, as well as the price of drugs that do little more than mask symptoms, it can cost the average allergy sufferer up to $2000 per year to simply manage symptoms.
GNO-ENT Center can help you reduce or even eliminate your symptoms altogether, so you can stop wasting money on medications that don’t work—and start experiencing the lasting relief you deserve.