Allergy and Sinus Diagnosis and Treatment

Millions of Americans suffer from nasal allergies, commonly known as hay fever. Often fragrant flowers are blamed for the uncomfortable symptoms, yet they are rarely the cause; their pollens are too heavy to be airborne.

An ear, nose, and throat specialist can help determine the substances causing your discomfort and develop a management plan that will help make life more enjoyable.

The most appropriate person to evaluate allergy problems is an otolaryngic allergist (ear, nose, and throat specialist with added training in allergy). Aside from gathering a detailed history and completing a thorough examination of the ears, nose, throat, head, and neck, in order to evaluate the sinuses to determine if infection or structural abnormality (deviated septum, polyps) is contributing to the symptoms, the allergy doctor will offer advice on proper environmental control.

In addition, the doctor may advise testing to determine the specific allergen(s) that is causing problems. This is generally done by skin testing but also blood tests and patch tests are also available.

Despite the advances in allergy care during the past several decades, there are still only three basic, accepted approaches to allergy care:

  • Avoidance of the offending allergens
  • Pharmacotherapy (medications)
  • Immunotherapy
    • Allergy shots
    • Sublingual drops ( liquid drops under the tongue )

Sinus Disorders

Have you ever had a cold or allergy attack that wouldn’t go away? If so, there’s a good chance you actually had sinusitis. Experts estimate that 37 million people are afflicted with sinusitis each year, making it one of the most common health conditions in America. That number may be significantly higher, since the symptoms of bacterial sinusitis often mimic those of colds or allergies, and many sufferers never see a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Acute bacterial sinusitis is an infection of the sinus cavities caused by bacteria. It usually is preceded by a cold, allergy attack, or irritation by environmental pollutants. Unlike a cold, or allergy, bacterial sinusitis requires a physician’s diagnosis and treatment with an antibiotic to cure the infection and prevent future complications.

When you have frequent sinusitis, or the infection lasts three months or more, it could be chronic sinusitis. Symptoms of chronic sinusitis may be less severe than those of acute; however, untreated chronic sinusitis can cause damage to the sinuses and cheekbones that sometimes requires surgery to repair.

Our Allergy and Sinus Doctors will perform a complete exam and often evaluate your nose and sinuses in the office with an endoscope (a small lighted telescopic tube) and/or obtain a CT scan of your sinuses with our state of the art MiniCT Scanner allowing you and your doctor to see what is going on in just minutes.

Surgery should be considered only if medical treatment fails or if there is a nasal obstruction that cannot be corrected with medications. The type of surgery is chosen to best suit the patient and the disease.