Nasal allergy is a common affliction with a rising prevalence in the population & is responsible for a lot of suffering. Nasal blockage, stuffiness, nasal watering, nasal discharge, itching, sneezing etc are the usual symptoms. The symptoms may start in early childhood or even anytime later in one’s life.
Nowadays, blood tests or skin prick tests are available to try and identify the type of allergen causing the symptoms. At the ENT & Dental Centre, skin prick testing is available for 56 or 150 allergens (by appointment only). These tests are able to identify the food or airborne allergens that are responsible for the symptoms of allergy in that particular patient. This simplifies treatment as Immunotherapy or ‘desensitization therapy’ is then possible. This is a sort of ‘vaccine’, which has the potential to cure some of the patients suffering from allergy.
Two forms of immunotherapy are possible. One is administered by subcutaneous injection and the other by a liquid solution which is taken sublingually or under the tongue. The oral form is available at our clinic and the course of treatment is for a minimum of 21 months in 3 phases of 5, 8 & 8 months each.
Patients with chronic nasal allergy require a diagnostic nasal endoscopy to rule out the presence of co-existing disease like nasal polypi, large inferior turbinates or blockage of the sinus drainage pathways that would worsen the symptoms of the patient and may require separate treatment. After spraying the nose with a decongestant / mild local anesthetic, a 4mm telescope is inserted into the nose to look for signs of sinus disease.
Treatment of allergy is by allergen avoidance whenever possible. This is easily practiced with food allergies. Use of air filters/purifiers at home, car and office is also beneficial. Medications like nasal sprays and oral anti-histamines are the mainstay of treatment for nasal allergy.
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