Topic of the Month
by Charles V. Klucka, DO
affecting the nose and/or eyes (allergic rhinitis and allergic
conjunctivitis) affects about 20% - 30% of the population.
It causes millions of lost work days and school days annually, and is
associated with both indirect and direct treatment costs in the billions.
The Primary symptoms of allergic rhinitis are 1) sneeze, 2) itch, 3) watery
drainage, and 4) stuffiness (congestion).
The diagnosis of allergy can be made by blood testing (RAST) or skin
testing (allergist office). Skin Testing is recommended by the Academy of
Allergy; it is generally more thorough, quite safe, and yields immediate
antihistamines are a good first start for treating many nasal symptoms,
especially itch, sneeze, and watery drainage, they do little for stuffiness
or sinus pressure. Side effects or antihistamines can be dry mouth or
drowsiness, but the newer agents have far fewer side effects.
decongestants (Sudafed) help stuffiness and sinus pressure, but can
aggravate high blood pressure, heart disease, or prostate problems.
steroid sprays are the one (prescription) drug which can prevent all four
primary symptoms of allergy quite well when used regularly. Most, like
Flonase and Nasacort AQ, are now over the counter.
your doctor for a referral to see us if you:
Have uncontrolled allergy symptoms despite using medication.
* Cannot take a medication regimen due to side effects, or simply want to
know all your alternatives.
* Want to know exactly what items to which you may be allergic and how to
* Wish to consider an alternative treatment such as allergy injections, or
immunotherapy, which incidentally is the only treatment known to cure
allergies or airborne allergens, or put them in remission for years.
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