Allergies at South Florida ENT Associates
Allergies are a common condition that can happen to anyone. It currently affects more than 20 percent of Americans. Allergy symptoms include itchy and red eyes, congestion, sneezing, breathing problems and rashes. The most common allergy triggers include seasonal (e.g., grass, mold, pollen), pets (e.g., dog or cat dander) and food (e.g. gluten, peanuts).
What Happens with Allergies?
When someone has an allergy, the immune system begins to produce an abnormal response to an otherwise harmless allergen within the environment. A person can be exposed to this allergen by consuming it, breathing it in or coming in physical contact with it. While most allergy symptoms go away after the allergen is gone, some people will still experience symptoms even once the exposure stops.
People can develop allergies to certain foods, insect stings, environmental elements, pets, medications, etc. Also anything can be a potential allergen.
While there is no cure for allergies, there are a variety of medications that can help reduce patient’s allergy-related symptoms. Some medications may be simple over-the-counter products, while other patients may need a stronger prescription. The most common allergy medications include antihistamines, decongestants and corticosteroids.
This is the most commonly used medication for treating allergy symptoms. Antihistamines come in the form of pills, nasal sprays, eye drops and liquid. For those with itchy, red eyes or season allergies, antihistamine eye drops and nasal sprays can offer some relief. The most popular over-the-counter antihistamines include Benadryl and Claritin. Prescription antihistamines are also available to those who don’t experience relief from over-the-counter medications.
This allergy medication is used to breakup nasal congestion and can be used in conjunction with antihistamines. Decongestants can also be found in the same forms as antihistamines. Pill and liquid forms can be used for extended periods of time, while nasal sprays and eye drops should only be used for a few days, as long-term use of these methods can actually make symptoms worse.
Steroids can help decrease nasal inflammation and swelling, congestion, sneezing and other allergy-related symptoms. Steroids are often the most effective medication for relieving allergy problems; however, they must be used regularly to achieve the optimal results. Steroids can come in pill, liquid, nasal spray, topical creams, eye drops or inhaler form. While oral steroids can greatly reduce symptoms, potential side effects can also result from taking this medication including high blood pressure, weight gain, etc. Remember to talk to your doctor about the potential side effects of taking corticosteroids or if you are experiencing any symptoms.
Immunotherapy for Allergies
While some patients experience relief from a combination of medications, there are some that will find more effective relief from allergy shots. This treatment option is ideal for those who suffer from allergies for several months out of the year. Talk to your otolaryngologist to find out if allergy shots could help alleviate your symptoms.
To find out more about our treatment options for allergies, call South Florida ENT Associates in Hollywood, FL today at (954) 966-7000.