ENT & Allergy Specialists North KY

Adult and Pediatric Diseases of the Ear, Nose
and Throat and Allergy, Asthma and Immunology

KY (859) 781-4900 OH (513) 631-1044

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Allergy Information

With true food allergy, the immune system reacts to certain foods and symptoms may include itching, trouble breathing, swelling, stomach pain, hives or loss of consciousness. It is important to distinguish between food allergy and food intolerance. While food allergy typically starts early in life, it can develop later and affect people of all ages. It is often found in association with asthma, nasal allergy, eczema and eosinophilic esophagitis. After a detailed medical history and physical exam, the proper testing is chosen to aid in making the diagnosis. We are able to test for a large panel of food allergens including the most common offenders such as dairy, eggs, wheat, soy, seafood, and nuts in addition to meats, fruits, vegetables, yeast and certain spices. In some cases, particularly for peanut allergy, recent advances provide for desensitization strategies to develop lasting tolerance. If food intolerance is suspected, we offer education and dietary guidance to help reduce symptoms. For more information, Click Here

“Get tested, get treated, and get better!”


A few words about Allergies of the Ear, Nose and Throat

You’re not alone if you suffer from allergies. In fact, millions of Americans have them. Allergies can appear at any age, and can even disappear in childhood only to reappear in adulthood.

Allergy is a condition, often inherited, in which the immune system of the affected person reacts to something eaten or in the environment that doesn’t affect most other people. People often think of allergy as only “hay fever,” with sneezing, runny nose, nasal stuffiness and itchy, watery eyes. However, allergies can also cause symptoms such as chronic “sinus” problems, postnasal drip, head congestion, frequent “colds,” recurring ear infections, hearing loss, dizziness, chronic cough and asthma. Even stomach and intestinal problems, many skin rashes, chronic headaches and fatigue can be symptoms of allergy.

Your Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) Allergist is a specialist who can diagnose and treat allergies affecting the ear, nose and throat. The specialty of Ear, Nose, and Throat is also called Otolaryngology, and we sometimes refer to allergy problems in this area of the body as Otolaryngic Allergy.


What is an Allergy?

Allergy is a condition, often inherited, in which the immune system of the affected person reacts to something that is either eaten, touched, or inhaled that doesn’t affect most other people. The patient’s immune system reacts to this substance as if it were an “enemy invader” (like a virus). This reaction leads to symptoms that often adversely affect the patient’s work, play, rest, and overall quality of life.


Allergens Cause Allergies

Any substance that triggers an allergic reaction is called an allergen. Allergens “invade” the body by being inhaled, swallowed or injected, or they may be absorbed through the skin. Common allergens include pollen, dust and mold.

The Ohio River valley area is well known in the medical literature as an area with a high concentration of allergens.


How common are Allergies?

Allergies are among the nations most common and costly health problems. They affect as many as one in four people. More than 50 million Americans have allergic rhinitis. The yearly sales of antihistamines, decongestants, nasal cromolyn and nasal corticosteroids now exceed $5 billion.


What are the Symptoms of Ear, Nose and Throat Allergies?

People often think of allergy as only “hay fever,” with sneezing, runny nose, nasal stuffiness and itchy, watery eyes. However, allergies can also cause symptoms such as chronic “sinus” problems, excess nasal and throat drainage (post nasal drip), head congestion, frequent “colds,” hoarse voice, eczema (skin allergies), recurring ear infections, hearing loss, dizziness, chronic cough and asthma. Even stomach and intestinal problems as well as excessive fatigue can be symptoms of allergy. Symptoms of ear, nose, and throat allergies may include:

  • Repeated sneezing
  • Nasal itching and rubbing
  • Nasal congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Dark circles under the eyes
  • Crease across bridge of nose
  • Frequent throat clearing
  • Mouth breathing
  • Diminished/lost sense of smell/taste
  • Recurrent, unexplained nosebleeds
  • Recurrent ear infections
  • Recurrent sinus infections
  • Fluctuating hearing loss
  • Cold-like symptoms more than 10 days
  • Symptoms recur same time each year
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Symptoms can range from minor to severe.

The greater the frequency and/or amount of exposure, the greater the chance that the susceptible person will develop an allergic problem that will require treatment.


What causes Symptoms to Begin?

There is no “usual” way for an allergy to begin; the onset may be sudden or gradual. Often, symptoms develop following an unusual stress to the immune symptom, such as a severe viral infection.


Can an Allergy be Outgrown?

No, but it is common for people to change the way their allergic symptoms affect them. For example, a baby may develop colic, recurrent ear infections, or have eczema, but as it grows older, it may develop different allergic symptoms such as hay fever, fluid behind the eardrum, or asthma.


How do we make the Diagnosis?

The initial or presumptive diagnosis of allergy is made by history and physical examination. If one wishes to be certain of the diagnosis and proceed to treat the patient effectively, the findings must be confirmed by tests that identify the specific offending allergens.


Who can treat my Ear, Nose, and Throat Allergies?

Because allergies can produce such a wide range of symptoms, there are a number of doctors, both specialists and primary care physicians, who may be qualified to treat the allergic patient.


Who should treat my Allergies?

An Otolaryngic Allergist is able to diagnose and treat disorders of the upper respiratory tract (ear, nose, throat etc.) caused by allergic conditions. Because the Otolaryngic Allergist is an ear, nose, and throat surgeon and specialist (ENT), other non-allergic diseases of the upper respiratory tract can also be efficiently diagnosed and treated. Half of the problems that an ENT doctor encounters are probably caused, either directly or indirectly, by allergy. Chronic nasal congestion and post nasal drip, seasonal or constant, is often allergic and may be complicated by chronic sinus and middle ear disease. Hearing loss, dizziness, head-aches, weeping ear canals and chronic sore throats may be due to allergy. The ENT doctor who does his/her own allergy treatment is able to follow the patient’s progress with specialized examinations and medical and surgical treatment, such as polyp removal, placement of middle ear ventilating tubes, straightening of the nasal septum,


When to see a Specialist

The following represent circumstances under which a patient should seek consultation with an Otolaryngic Allergist:

  • When the diagnosis of an ear, nose, or throat allergy or cause of an ear, nose, or throat symptom is uncertain.
  • When allergy or ear, nose or throat symptoms are not adequately controlled.
  • When special diagnostic allergy tests are needed.
  • When specialized treatment such as immunotherapy is needed.
  • When other related ear, nose, and throat medical problems, such as chronic sinusitis, nasal polyps, fluid in the middle ear, chronic ear infections, deviated septum, vocal disturbances, or enlarged adenoids or tonsils may be present.
  • When complications associated with treatment or difficulty in controlling allergy symptoms are affecting the patient’s quality of life.

Allergy Treatments

Despite the advances in allergy care during the past several decades, there are still only three basic, accepted approaches to allergy care:

Avoidance of the offending allergens (the things to which a person is allergic); 
Pharmacotherapy (medications); and 
Immunotherapy (allergy shots or desensitization).


Avoidance

The first most basic treatment step, once an allergen has been identified, is to eliminate or avoid contact with it, if possible. Unfortunately, avoiding some allergens (such as dust, molds, and animals) is often difficult and thus allergen avoidance alone may not be effective.


Pharmacotherapy

Medications can frequently control allergy symptoms. These may include antihistamines, decongestants, prescription nasal sprays, leukotriene inhibitors and other types of products.


Immunotherapy

When allergen avoidance and medications do not successfully control allergy symptoms, the Otolaryngic Allergist can alter the body’s overactive response by carefully challenging the patient’s immune system through regular injections of the actual allergens to which a patient is sensitive. This treatment, very similar to the vaccination for infectious diseases such as the flu, can be given after allergy testing has revealed what it is that a patient is allergic to.

Over time it may be possible to actually alter a person’s excessive response to these environmental allergens, and both improve symptoms, as well as decrease the need for medications and allergen avoidance for many years.

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