Ear, Nose & Throat: Allergy Testing
At Hattiesburg Clinic Ear, Nose & Throat, we treat allergy-related symptoms all year. Many people suffer from allergies, including allergic asthma, making allergies a leading cause of chronic disease in the United States. When the body reacts abnormally to substances or allergens, it causes allergies. Allergens cause allergic reactions after being inhaled, swallowed or by coming in contact with skin. Common allergens are pollen, mold spores, dust mites, animal dander, feathers, foods, medications and insect stings.
During peak seasons, ways to help minimize exposure to allergens include:
- Use air conditioning when possible. This cleans, cools and dries the air.
- When pollen counts are high, limit your outdoor activity. Peak pollen times are usually between 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
- Keep your car windows closed when traveling.
- Try to stay indoors when humidity is reported to be high, and on windy days when dust and pollen are blown about.
- Take a shower after spending time outside because pollen tends to collect on skin and hair.
While prevention is key, sometimes allergens can’t be avoided. You may suffer from watery eyes and a runny nose in the springtime or have a stuffy nose all year long. Sometimes, allergies can be misdiagnosed for a sinusitis infection – which is found in a majority of people who suffer from allergies. Allergic sinusitis often presents itself as a runny or stuffy nose without fever or infected nasal drainage. These symptoms can come and go or be present year-round.
Minor symptoms can be treated with medication. Antihistamines, decongestants, and nasal steroids are the most commonly used medications. These help alleviate congestion, runny nose, sneezing and itching. If you have severe and prolonged sinus symptoms, you could be a candidate for balloon sinuplasty, a minimally invasive in-office treatment that uses a small balloon to expand the sinus cavity and create an opening for sinus drainage in order to provide immediate relief.
Though managing your own allergies is possible with medication, it is important that you visit your physician for periodic assessments – especially during the allergy and asthma seasons. Early intervention is the key to ensure you and your family have a safe and fun spring and summer.
Our board-certified ear, nose and throat doctors offer both allergy testing and treatment. Treatment is available for allergies related to inhaled allergens (dust mites, pollen, etc.) and food. Because allergies are very unique to the patient, we ask our allergy patients to be with us for at least two years to be able to pinpoint and treat the actual cause of your allergies.