Benke ENT is happy to announce that we are seeing patients in the office again and via Telehealth. Click here for more info.

Get Serious About Treating Your Allergies

By September 14, 2009 Nose, Sinusitis

Do noses run in your family? Then, get serious about treating your allergies by calling an ENT allergy specialist right here in Cleburne.

Why seek the care of an OTOLARYNGIC ALLERGIST?

An Otolaryngic Allergist is able to diagnose and treat disorders of the upper respiratory tract (ear, nose and throat) caused by allergic conditions. Because the Otolaryngic Allergist is an ear, nose, and throat surgeon and specialist, he can also effectively treat and diagnose other non-allergic diseases of the upper respiratory tract. The Otolaryngic Allergist uses methods shown to not only identify specific allergens, but also to achieve effective control of allergies quickly.

Allergies affect millions of children and adults each year, appearing at any age and even disappearing in childhood only to reappear in adulthood. Symptoms can range from annoying to debilitating, if not treated.

“Despite the advances over the last few decades, there are still only three basic approaches to treating them: avoidance of the offending allergens, medication, and immunotherapy or desensitization to the trigger,” Benke said.

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.

“Some people prefer to start conservatively by attempting to avoid the seasonal allergen,” he said. “They may have to hire a lawn service instead of doing their own lawn, for instance, or they may try to avoid molds or dust.”

If that doesn’t work, the next step would be to suggest medication, offer a prescription nasal steroid or an antihistamine. Other medications include nasal antihistamine spray, oral decongestants and allergy eye drops.

If avoidance and medication don’t do the trick, Benke explains the option of immunotherapy, where treatment consists of attempting to alter the body’s overactive response by carefully challenging the person’s immune system through doses of the actual allergen the patient is allergic to.

Benke said it may seem contrary, but this is 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 this treatment as allergy shots, administered weekly in the doctor’s office.

“Successfully I’ve done injection therapy for 8 years in Cleburne but some people experience arm swelling and irritation. I’m excited to offer immunotherapy in a new form—in an easier form. Allergy drops.

“Allergy drops have been used effectively for more than 60 years, and numerous studies validate both the safety and effectiveness. In fact, the World Health Organization has endorsed sublingual immunotherapy as a viable alternative to injection therapy. They work much like allergy shots, but they’re delivered under the patient’s tongue in liquid form that he can safely take at home. Allergic reactions are less likely so it’s the safest way to go for brittle asthmatics.”

Benke said both the drops and 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 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. Dr. Benke is a member of the American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy, is Board Certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology, and is a Fellow of the American College Surgeons. Call 817-641-3750 or go to contact us.