Allergic rhinitis, better known as hay fever, affects 6.1 million children and 20 million adults in the United States. At Memorial Village ENT in Houston, Texas, board-certified ENT physician Conrad McCutcheon, MD, FACS, has devoted years to helping patients get relief from sneezing, itchy eyes, and runny noses. Dr. McCutcheon offers comprehensive care for allergies, including allergy testing, blood testing, allergy shots, and sublingual immunotherapy. To get help for your allergies, call the office or schedule an appointment online today.
Allergies develop when your immune system labels a substance that’s normally harmless as something that’s dangerous to your health. When you come into contact with that substance in the future, it triggers an allergic reaction.
As an ENT specialist, Dr. McCutcheon has extensive experience diagnosing and treating nasal allergies, or allergic rhinitis. These allergies are typically caused by pollen, dust mites, mold, and pet dander.
Seasonal allergies occur when certain types of plants bloom during a specific season, releasing huge amounts of pollen into the air. Allergies to mold, dust mites, and pet dander can bother you all year round.
Allergies caused by airborne substances primarily affect your nose and eyes, causing:
Depending on the severity of your allergies, you may develop a stuffy nose, cough, or a sore throat. Some patients also experience fatigue and headaches.
A sinus infection, called sinusitis, occurs when the lining inside one or more sinuses becomes inflamed and swollen. The swollen tissues block the sinus opening, trapping mucus inside the sinus and causing an infection.
People with nasal allergies have a higher risk of developing sinusitis because severe or long-lasting allergies lead to inflamed nasal passages and sinuses. The top symptoms of sinusitis are nasal congestion, a thick and discolored discharge, and pain or pressure around your sinuses. Many patients also develop a diminished sense of taste and smell.
After Dr. McCutcheon reviews your medical history, performs a physical exam, conducts indicated testings, and talks about your symptoms as well as when they occur, he can often determine the source of your allergies. Then your treatment begins with a plan to avoid your allergens.
You may also need medications to relieve your symptoms, such as oral antihistamines, steroid or antihistamine nose sprays, or hypertonic saline rinses that remove irritants, shrink swollen membranes, and reduce inflammation. When your symptoms persist or you can’t take medications, Dr. McCutcheon may recommend allergy testing followed by allergy shots or sublingual immunotherapy (allergy drops).
Both treatments gradually desensitize your immune system to stop the allergic reaction. Allergy shots are injected in the office initially, following a specific schedule and dosage. You may give yourself shots at home after a while if you are comfortable doing it.
The first dose of sublingual immunotherapy is given in the office, then you continue taking allergy drops daily at home by placing the drops under your tongue. The prescription escalates every 6 weeks until a symptom-relieving dosage is attained.
If you need relief from allergies, call Memorial Village ENT or book an appointment online today.