Allergic rhinitis is a condition in which the body reacts to the environment in a hyperactive way. Even normal substances in the environment can become symptom-producing allergens in certain individuals. Although hay and weeds are common culprits, pollens from grasses and trees, mold, dust mites, and animal dander can also cause symptoms. The various pollens produce seasonal symptoms, whereas mold, dust mites and animal dander may result in perennial, or year-round, symptoms.
Allergy is a disordered immune system response to an otherwise harmless protein referred to as an antigen. We are exposed to antigens through the ingestion of foods, inhalation of pollen, pet dander, mold spores, insect matter, and through direct contact with our skin. Allergies can manifest clinically as allergic rhinitis, allergic conjunctivitis, asthma, and eczema. It has been estimated that 20% of the population suffers with itchy-watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing, and nasal obstruction due to allergic rhinitis; 40% of asthmatics have allergic rhinitis, and at least 40% of those with chronic rhinosinusitis have allergic rhinitis.
Allergies can be treated through avoidance of the antigen, symptoms control with medications, or re-programming of the disordered immune response. When avoidance and symptoms control fail, then the next step is often use of allergy shots or sublingual drops to "desensitize" the patient to the offending antigen. Allergy shots and sublingual drops carry a success rate close to 80% when used properly. Desensitization works by triggering the body to produce blocking antibodies to halt the production of allergic inflammation. It typically takes around 12 weeks to see results, and it typically takes at least 3 years to complete the process of desensitization.
Allergy testing can be accomplished through blood tests or skin tests. Food allergies are diagnosed through blood testing and treated by avoidance of the foods. Inhalation allergies can be tested by blood testing and skin testing and treated by weekly allergy shots or daily drops under the tongue. Allergy testing can be modified to a screening panel that takes seconds to complete and is well-suited for children.
Sinus and Nasal Specialists of Louisiana offers the latest in allergy testing, desensitization therapy to inhaled antigen. Sinus and Nasal Specialists of Louisiana can customize allergy testing panels for children and deliver antigen for desensitization through a sublingual drop. The sublingual desensitization therapy is a great alternative to shots for children, those that don't like needles, and those with busy schedules.
Please call us if you think that you are suffering with allergies; we would love to help you.