ENT health and allergy care are about so much more than just hay fever. Allergies can disrupt everyday life and even cause life-threatening symptoms for some people. The professionals at Becker ENT & Allergy in Hillsborough, NJ, can provide expert help for seasonal allergy concerns and beyond.
Allergies: An Immune Response
If you struggle with allergies, it means that your immune system is producing an excessive physical response to something harmless that your body sees as a threat. The symptoms or allergic reaction you experience when exposed to allergens can likely be reduced with the help of an allergist and immunologist who can help your body better manage its response to the perceived threat.
For adults with seasonal allergies, an allergist may be the ideal specialist. However, if the problem has become chronic, you may need more help, up to and including surgery on the inside or outside of your nose to open up breathing passages.
When assisting children who struggle with allergies, the timing of the care is key. Sinus inflammation can be quite uncomfortable, but for a growing child, it can also impact the ability to hear and speak. Early allergy care can also help to prevent issues later in life.
Allergy Treatments Available at Becker ENT and Allergy
For both adults and children, a full diagnostic workup for allergies is available as needed. If you struggle with seasonal allergies, for instance, you may undergo a skin test administered by an immunologist to see just what in your environment is causing your discomfort. Following allergy testing, your physician can guide you through questions that relate to your allergy symptoms and allergens.
For some patients, medication to control allergy symptoms is the best option. Some allergens are difficult to avoid altogether (such as dust mites), and symptom management may be the only effective solution. Our allergists and immunologists prescribe different medications to help people cope with their specific allergens.
In addition to medications to reduce allergy misery, you may also consult with a Hillsborough immunologist to help your body have a healthier reaction to non-threatening substances. Allergy shots are an option for people with certain allergies who want to reduce or eliminate their allergic reaction to a specific substance. With consistent shots given over several years, many people are able to greatly reduce or even eliminate their allergic reactions.
Management and Moderation
For both children and adults, many allergy challenges simply require observation and management. While a monthly visit to the allergy doctor may not be necessary, getting on the schedule in late winter and early fall can be critical.
Other people may be able to manage their allergies with an avoidance regimen. After determining the patient’s allergens through testing, the allergy specialist might recommend avoidance, especially for food items and less common substances like latex. People with pet dander or pet hair allergies might be advised to avoid owning pets and to use medications when they will be near animals.
Once you know more about what is causing your reactions, you may be given medications to reduce the severity of your responses. You may also get guidance on lifestyle and dietary changes you can make to reduce your reactions. Finally, your reaction to the medications will be tracked to make sure they’re safe and effective.
Severe Allergic Reactions
Most people with allergies get mild to moderate reactions when exposed to their allergens. They might experience skin rashes, a runny nose, and watery eyes, symptoms that are disruptive but not truly dangerous.
A few people, however, have allergic reactions that are severe enough to be life-threatening. Anaphylaxis is a severe reaction that can cause difficulty breathing, shock, vomiting, rashes and severe swelling, and unconsciousness. Left untreated, it can lead to death.
Patients with a history of severe allergic reactions may be eligible for treatment in addition to management strategies like avoidance, but they will also need to carry emergency medication, such as an EpiPen, which contains epinephrine. This medication can save a person’s life as they wait for treatment after an allergic reaction.
Episodes of anaphylaxis are terrifying. Although it’s not possible to prevent every reaction, there are steps you can take to reduce risks. Our immunology experts will help you create a plan for keeping you or your child safe and managing the risks of living with severe allergies.
Making Connections at Becker ENT and Allergy
The physicians at Becker ENT and Allergy offer both children and adults a wide variety of expertise. The immunologists and allergists on our team work closely with other specialists to ensure that each patient gets the best care possible. If our allergists notice other ENT problems that need to be addressed, they will work with their colleagues and create a customized treatment plan.
Compassionate care is crucial for both children and adults. It’s important for our staff of physicians to prioritize connections and trust at Becker ENT. Our allergists will get to know you and your family and will be there for you as you develop a long-term management and treatment plan.
If you’re taking enough over-the-counter allergy medication that it makes you drowsy and your symptoms aren’t getting better, you need to talk to an immunologist. Being constantly drowsy can be frustrating, but if you drive every day it can also be dangerous. Your Hillsborough immunology team can help you find therapies that reduce the severity of your response without putting you to sleep.
Allergy shots can be very effective at reducing or eliminating allergic reactions. However, they must be given on a consistent schedule over a few years to be effective. Additionally, some people still experience allergic reactions even after a full course of shots. Your immunologist can tell you more about whether or not allergy shots are a good choice for you.
One of the most common allergy testing methods at our Hillsborough office is the “prick test.” An allergist uses a small needle tool to lightly prick the skin of the arm in several places and apply potential allergens. If any reactions occur during the 15 minutes following the tests, the allergist will be able to identify the patient’s allergens.
The prick test can be uncomfortable, especially if any allergies are identified. You might experience some itching and discomfort. However, the needle pricks should not be very painful as the needles used are very small.
With or without treatment, allergies can sometimes go away. Children often outgrow their allergies, especially to certain foods. However, this doesn’t mean that you should put off taking your child to an allergist or immunologist. Treating allergies early in life can sometimes prevent further immune system problems and other issues.
On the other hand, allergies can also develop later in life. Many adults who did not have allergies as children start to react to harmless substances and foods later on.
Talk to an Allergist in Hillsborough
Whether your allergy challenges are seasonal or chronic, scheduling a consultation with an allergy doctor can be the first step to breathing easier, sleeping better, and living a fuller life. Visit our office at 719 US-206, Suite 101, in Hillsborough, NJ 08844, or call at 908-271-2103 to schedule your first appointment.