Things To Know About Various Allergies And Their Impact On ENT
Dr. Parth Hingol, ENT surgeon, HCG Hospitals, Rajkot
Many people suffer from allergies, which affect the ear, nose, and throat (ENT). An allergy occurs when the immune system overreacts to a harmless substance, known as an allergen. These allergens, which can be found in the environment, food, or medication, cause a variety of symptoms such as sneezing, itching, and a runny nose. In severe cases, allergies can also affect the ENT region, causing ear infections, sinusitis, and even throat swelling. Here are the various types of allergies.
Allergies, Their Forms, and Their Impact on the ENT Region
Seasonal Allergies: The first type of allergy is seasonal allergies, also known as hay fever. This allergy is most commonly caused by tree and grass pollens, which are prevalent in the spring and summer months. Symptoms of seasonal allergies include sneezing, a runny nose, itchy and watery eyes, and a congested nose. If not addressed, these symptoms may result in a subsequent ear infection.
Indoor Allergies: The second type of allergy is indoor allergies, which are caused by allergens found in the home. Dust mites, pet dander, mold, and cockroaches are common indoor allergens. Indoor allergies have symptoms similar to seasonal allergies, but they can also include itching and a scratchy throat. People with indoor allergies may also experience sinusitis, which is an inflammation of the sinus cavities.
Food Allergies: Another type of allergy that can affect the ear, nose, and throat area is food allergies. These occur when the immune system reacts to specific proteins in food, resulting in symptoms such as itching, hives, and facial, oral, or throat swelling. In extreme cases, food allergies can trigger anaphylaxis, a potentially fatal reaction that obstructs the airways and causes breathing difficulties.
Allergic Rhinitis: A type of allergy that specifically targets the nose is allergic rhinitis, also referred to as hay fever. This condition is triggered by allergens such as pollen, pet dander, and mold. Symptoms of allergic rhinitis include sneezing, runny nose, nasal blockage, and can lead to sinusitis. Individuals with allergic rhinitis may also experience a diminished sense of smell and taste, as well as pressure and discomfort in the ears.
Allergic Laryngitis: Allergies can also impact the throat, leading to symptoms like itching, swelling, and a husky voice. This form of allergy is referred to as allergic laryngitis and can be caused by allergens like dust, pet dander, and mold. In severe instances, allergic laryngitis can cause breathing difficulties and can result in laryngeal edema, a condition where the vocal cords become inflamed and obstruct the airways.
Detecting and Treating Allergies
To diagnose allergies, a doctor may perform a skin test or a blood test. The skin test involves exposing the skin to small amounts of allergens and observing the reaction. The blood test measures the levels of specific antibodies in the blood, which can indicate an allergy.
Treatment for allergies is determined by the type and severity of the allergy. Antihistamines, either over-the-counter or prescribed, can be used to alleviate symptoms such as itching, sneezing, and runny nose. Decongestants can also be used to relieve nasal congestion. In more severe cases, allergy shots, also known as immunotherapy, may be recommended. Allergy shots involve gradually exposing the body to increasing amounts of the allergen, in order to build immunity gradually. Visit the expert doctors at HCG Multispeciality Hospital to know more about allergies and seek help if you have one.