Allergy and Immunotherapy
What is allergy?
Allergy is a genetic condition causing the body to respond to harmless substances in the environment as though they were dangerous invaders. This response produces symptoms that may be mild to life-threatening in susceptible people. The most common symptoms of allergy are hayfever, asthma and eczema.
“Hay fever” was named because of nasal symptoms developing during hay season, but most nasal allergies are called “hay fever”. In hay fever, the lining of the nose becomes irritated, causing the sufferer to sneeze and the nose to become stuffed-up or to run. Eyes may itch or turn watery. Sometimes the ears feel blocked up. Hay fever occurs most frequently during the spring, summer or fall when trees, grasses and weeds produce pollen.
Asthma is a condition which affects breathing and the lungs. The patient wheezes, coughs and is short of breath.
Eczema is an inflammation of the skin. It can take the form of red patches, crusts and scales. The affected area generally itches. The condition generally occurs from eating certain foods.
How Does Dr.Sigari treat allergies?
As an otolaryngologist, Dr. Sigari specializes in the treatment of ear, nose and throat diseases. Half of the problems she encounters are probably due, either directly or indirectly, to allergy. Chronic nasal congestion and postnasal drip, seasonal or constant, is often allergic and may be complicated by chronic sinus and middle ear disease. Hearing loss, dizziness, headaches, weeping ear canals, and chronic sore throats may be due to allergy. As an otolaryngologist who does his own allergy treatment he is able to follow the patient’s progress with specialized examinations of the ears, nose and throat. He can manage those conditions with medical therapy or surgical procedures such as polyp removal, placement of middle ear ventilating tubes, straightening of the nasal septum, and treatment of sinus infections. Although allergy training is an integral part of their training not all otolaryngologists provide allergy care as part of their practice.
What is Sublingual Immunotherapy?
Sublingual immunotherapy (also known as SLIT) is the next generation therapy for allergy sufferers. Historically, the only way to treat allergies was avoidance of the offending substances, taking medications, or to submit to allergy shots. Now, the same beneficial therapy provided by allergy shots can be administered as drops under the tongue in the comfort and convenience of your home. Sublingual therapy has been used successfully in Europe for over thirty years, but has only recently come to the United States. The drops work in the same way as the shots, by desensitizing you to the very substance that causes your allergy symptoms. With SLIT, we can treat a wide variety of allergies, including dust, grass and tree pollens, and animal dander.
How Do I Know If Sublingual Therapy is Right for Me?
The first step is to perform allergy testing, to determine what substances may be responsible for your allergy symptoms. We then perform further testing, to determine how sensitive you are to those substances. Based on this information, allergy drops are custom made to treat your specific allergies.