Allergy Overview

In Denver and Lone Tree, Colorado

Allergies

45 million Americans suffer from allergiesAllergy symptoms occur when the body’s immune system begins to respond to a substance as though it were a dangerous invader (called an antigen)The body sends out defenders called antibodies to the site and chemical mediatorssuch as histamineinto the bloodstreamThis is what causes our allergy symptomsCommon symptoms are itching eyessneezingnasal stuffinessor a drippy noseSome people have drainage down the back of their throatshoarsenessor coughSkin irritationhivesand asthma are other symptoms that can be related to allergiesSometimesallergies can contribute to chronic sinus problems as swollen membranes in the nose block sinus drainage pathways.

What are these allergens that are making us miserable?

Pollen allergies (also called hay fever) are common causes when patients have seasonal problemsIn the early springtree pollenssuch as Juniper and Cottonwoodcan cause allergy symptomsIn late May and Junegrasses are the culpritThenafter a brief lull in Julyweed pollens (such as ragweedsageand tumbleweed) may cause fall symptoms.

Perennial allergens are substances that may affect us all year longThese include pet danderfoodsand molds.

Our ENT physicians are highly qualified to diagnosetestand treat allergic diseaseAfter a careful history and examif allergy is suspectedwe will have you meet with our allergy nurse who will review all your medications and schedule you for an allergy testThese tests help identify which particular allergens trigger your symptoms.

Once the testing has been completedwe will develop a customized treatment plan for youThere are three basicaccepted approaches to allergy care: avoidance of offending allergensmedications that treat symptomsand immunotherapy or desensitization to allergies with shots or dropsOur doctors will help guide you in making these choices.

Avoiding Allergies

Here are some suggestions for controlling your environment:

  • Use a HEPA air purifier in your bedroom to help clean the air you breathe while you sleep.
  • Keep windows closed during heavy pollen season.
  • Wear a pollen mask when you mow grass.
  • Rinse the nose or eyes helps wash pollen away.
  • Keep pets out of the bedroom and limit your exposure.
  • Rid your home of indoor plants and other sources of mold.

Allergy Medications

Though medicines helpthey will often be needed long term and only treat the symptoms.

  • Antihistaminesboth over-the-counter and prescriptionhelp relieve sneezingdrippy noses.
  • Decongestants can help with nasal congestion.
  • Nasal steroid sprays can decrease many allergy nasal symptoms.
  • Eye drops can help relieve itchyredor watery eyes.

Immunotherapy

This is the only treatment method that can offer lasting relief or cure from allergiesAllergy injections or shots are designed to desensitize you to those substances to which you are allergicSterile extracts are prepared from allergy-producing substances such as pollensmold sporesand animal danderThese biological substances are injected in increasingly stronger doses on a regular schedule (usually once per week) until your maximum dose has been achievedThis formula is custom made for each individual based on their test results and the level of sensitivityWe give allergy injections Monday through Thursday from 7:30 AM to 5:00 PM and no appointment is necessarymaking it convenient for patients to just stop in.

Allergy drops (also sublingual immunotherapy) work like allergy shotsslowly desensitizing you to your allergiesThey are delivered under the tongue in a drop form that can be taken at homeAllergy drops can safely and effectively treat a broad range of allergiesincluding pollendanderand moldsDrops are taken every day and are placed under the tongueThey can be taken when patients are travelingThey are very safe and have a slight sweet tasteThe drops have proven to be a great alternative for patients who cannot come in every week for injectionsMedical insurance does not currently cover the cost of dropsbut they are reasonable in price.

Allergic RhinitisSinusitisand Rhinosinusitis Inflammation of the nasal mucous membrane is called rhinitisThe symptoms include sneezingrunnyand/or itchy nose caused by irritation and congestion in the noseThere are two types: allergic rhinitis and non-allergic rhinitis.