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Do Noses Run in Your Family?

By February 9, 2009 Nose

If you’ve suffered with allergies for years but have put off treatment and opted instead for over-the-counter remedies, it’s time to get serious about treating your allergies. And no one’s better suited to treat your allergies than an ENT allergy specialist. The good news is—there’s one right here in Cleburne.

Dr. Ted Benke is an ENT or otolaryngologist, a doctor specializing in diagnosing and treating conditions affecting the ear, nose and throat. But he’s also your allergy specialist right here in Cleburne because that’s precisely the area most affected by allergies. That’s why an otolaryngologist is often called an Allergy Specialist—because he is best suited to identify specific allergens and to help achieve effective control of allergies quickly.

Allergies affect millions of children and adults each year. They can appear at any age and can even disappear in childhood only to reappear in adulthood. And, Benke says their symptoms can range from annoying to debilitating, if not treated.

“Despite the advances in allergy care over the last few decades, there are still only three basic approaches to treating them,” Benke said. “Avoidance of the offending allergens, which is the ‘thing’ the person is allergic to; pharmacotherapy, which is medication; and immunotherapy, which is desensitization to the trigger.”

Benke said when patients come in with allergy symptoms, he completes a series of allergy tests to determine what the patient is allergic to and then discusses treatment options with him.

“Some people prefer to start conservatively by attempting to avoid grass if that’s their trigger,” he said. “They may have to hire a lawn service instead of doing their own lawn, for instance. But if they’re allergic to mold or dust, it can be difficult so we may have them take a decongestant, antihistamine or prescription nasal spray.

“But, if avoidance and medication don’t do the trick, we explain the option of immunotherapy, where we can alter the body’s overactive response by carefully challenging the person’s immune system through doses of the actual allergen that the patient is allergic to.”

Benke said it may seem contrary, but this approach is very similar to vaccinations for infectious diseases, such as the flu, and over time it may be possible to actually alter a person’s excessive response to the environmental antigens and both improve symptoms and decrease the need for medication and allergen avoidance for many years.

Most people know that treatment as allergy shots, administered weekly in the doctor’s office, and until recently, shots were the only form of immunotherapy. But now, Benke said, immunotherapy comes in a new form—in an easier form. Allergy drops.

“Allergy drops work much like allergy shots, slowly desensitizing the patient to what caused the allergic reaction but they’re delivered under the patient’s tongue in liquid form that he can safely take at home.”

Benke said the allergy drops, like the shots, are custom-formulated based on the results of the patient’s allergy testing and they can be effective on a broad range of allergies, including food and mold.

“This is a convenient option for any patient, but especially young children,” Benke said. “And, they’ve been proven especially helpful for children with eczema and recurrent ear infections, which often have underlying allergic causes.”

Benke said research shows that many children with untreated eczema and allergies often develop asthma and other chronic conditions later in life so treating allergies early can have life-long benefits.

If you’ve suffered with allergies long enough, call today for more information. The allergy specialist is in. Call Dr. Benke at 817-641-3750.