WellStar ENT has a board-certified pediatric and adult allergy and asthma practice which covers all areas of adult and pediatric allergy and immunology, including allergic rhinitis, sinusitis, asthma, chronic cough, allergen immunotherapy, skin testing, food allergy, hives, drug allergy, anaphylaxis and generalized immune deficiencies. Our renowned board-certified allergist, Dr. Thomas Chacko, works closely with our board-certified ENT physicians to maximize your allergy and asthma treatment and to improve your overall quality of life.
Allergy & Asthma services include:
- Allergy treatment plans
- Allergy testing
- Oral immunotherapy
- Nasal allergies & sinusitis
- Spirometry testing
- Rush immunotherpy
- Patch testing
What are Allergies?
Allergic reactions and symptoms affect an estimated 1 in 5 people in the United States, according to the Allergy Report from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAI). Allergies are caused by foreign substances that the immune system reacts to by causing itchy eyes, runny nose, hives and may more.
Allergic Rhinoconjunctivitis, also known as hay fever, is one of the most common allergies. This allergic reaction is usually caused by pollens and dust mites. This type of allergy can cause inflammation or swelling of the nose, as well as cause symptoms in the eyes. The main symptoms that these cause, is sneezing, congestion, and itchy/ watery eyes. Treatment for Allergic Rhinoconjunctivitis can be your every day over the counter allergy medication, or prescription medication depending on the severity of the condition. Some medications include antihistamines, intranasal cromolyn, intranasal steroids, oral anti-leukotrienes, oral decongestants and more. The main treatment for Allergic Rhinoconjunctivitis is to avoid allergens that cause these symptoms.
What Are the Different Types of Allergies?
As many as 50 million Americans are allergic to some type of allergen. whether it be pollen, peanuts, or pet dander. Below is a list of the most common types of allergies.
Allergic Rhinitis – This is a swelling and inflammation of the nasal passage, congestion, sneezing, and itchy/ watery eyes. Rhinitis is caused by a variety of outdoor and indoor allergens.
Sinusitis – is an infection of the sinuses caused by rhinitis or asthma. Half of all chronic sinusitis is not caused by allergies.
Asthma – is the inflammation of the lungs and airway that constrict the bronchial tubes. Asthma can result in wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath and coughing
Food Allergies – Is an intolerance to such foods as peanuts, shellfish and more. Food allergies can cause Anaphylaxis which can be a mild or life-threatening reaction to foods.
Insects – Is also an allergy that can cause Anaphylaxis, and is one of the most dangerous allergic reaction that can cause death if not treated right away with an Epi-Pen and/or hospital treatment.
Latex allergy – a reaction the material within latex. Usually, it is an allergy to the powder residue that coats the latex. This powder residue can also become airborne.
Drug Allergies – This is a reaction to a drug like penicillin, that can cause symptoms like hives.
Mold Allergy – mold can grow in many places, places that are usually damp like basements, bathrooms and more. Allergic reactions to mold can be year-round.
Pet Allergies – A person with a pet allergy can be sensitive to pet urine, saliva or dander.
Pollen Allergy – Pollen is one of the most common allergens that trigger seasonal allergy symptoms.
Nasal Allergies & Sinusitis
Allergic rhinitis, more commonly known as nasal allergies, is usually characterized by nasal congestion and/or a runny nose, excessive sneezing, as well as itchy, watery eyes. These symptoms closely resemble those of sinusitis, a nasal condition unrelated to allergies. If you live in Atlanta or surrounding areas and are experiencing any of these symptoms, you have come to the right place.
At WellStar ENT, we believe that every condition should be treated at the source. That is why we will begin the process by determining whether the source is indeed allergies or sinusitis using one of our three allergy tests. Nasal allergies are caused by many of the common allergens – mold, dust mites, pollen or pet dander. Sinusitis, on the other hand, results from viral infections, a deviated nasal septum, respiratory tract infections or many other factors, with varying severity.
The next step in the process is establishing the appropriate treatment for your nasal condition. In the case of nasal allergies, your WellStar ENT allergist will create a treatment plan consisting of environmental, medicinal and/or immunotherapeutic options. In the case of sinusitis, your treatment plan will consist of antibiotics, saline nasal sprays, and/or prescription decongestants and pain relievers. The precise plan will be created based on your individual needs for optimal results.
Nasal allergies and sinusitis are often overlooked and under-treated, although both are serious conditions that can greatly affect your quality of life.
Common Food Allergies
Some of the most common food allergies include peanut allergies, egg allergies, wheat/grain allergies, fish/shellfish allergies, milk allergies, and much more.
There are 8 types of food allergies that affect 90% of all reactions:
- Tree Nuts
To determine which type of foods you are allergic to, your allergist will perform multiple types of tests, like patch testing, blood tests, skin prick testing, pulmonary function study, chest and sinus X-rays, nasal smear, and also family history of allergies also helps to determine what types of foods you may be allergic to.
Symptoms from Food Allergies
Some of the main symptoms of a food allergy include rash, vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, wheezing, swelling (face, throat etc.) hives, and other triggers. Food intolerances, such as peanut allergies and lactose intolerances, are the most common of all food allergies.
Most food symptoms affect the skin, the gastrointestinal tract, the cardiovascular system and the respiratory tract.
Below is a list of different food-related allergy symptoms:
- Vomiting /stomach cramps
- Shortness of breath
- Repetitive cough
- Shock/circulatory collapse
- Tight, hoarse throat; can cause trouble swallowing
- Swelling of the tongue, affecting speech or breathing
- Weak pulse
- Pale or blue coloring of skin
- Dizziness/feeling faint
- Anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening reaction that can impair breathing.
Oral Immunotherapy (OIT)
Until recently, avoiding an allergenic food was the only practical option for patients with food allergy like Peanut allergies. However, even the most careful patients with food allergies feared reactions caused by eating contaminated or mislabeled food. Now, scientists have devised a treatment that can enable patients to eat the food they’re allergic to without fear of a reaction. It’s called “oral immunotherapy” or “oral desensitization”.
In oral immunotherapy, the patient, with their doctor’s help, basically “teaches” their immune system to tolerate a food it over-reacts to. They eat the food in small but increasing amounts to re-introduce it to their system without causing a reaction.
Since food allergies can be lethal, only a Board-Certified Allergist should administer oral immunotherapy. The initial treatment should only be administered in a hospital or medical center – not at the patient’s home. Oral immunotherapy does carry some risks, most notably anaphylaxis, a severe and potentially fatal allergic reaction. It is, therefore, a treatment that should be used only after a thorough discussion with the Allergist.