At Eastern Carolina E-N-T we have an Allergy
Department to treat patients with inhalant allergies.
The Allergy Department offers testing and treatment
American Academy of Otolaryngic
What is an Allergy?
Allergy is the body's abnormal
response to some foreign substance. The body's
immune system recognizes the presence of this
foreign substance and starts a reaction to prevent
their invasion. In most people, this is not a
problem. However, in the person with allergies,
the immune system is overactive and identifies
normally harmless particles as dangerous, producing
an excessive reaction, which includes swelling.
Are Allergies very common?
Yes. According to the literature, it is estimated
that 45 million Americans now suffer from some
form of allergy. The tendency to develop allergies
is genetic. The more allergic your family is,
the more likely you are to develop allergies.
What is Hay Fever?
"Hay fever" is really misnamed since
it doesn't involve hay or fever. The correct name
for this is allergic rhinitis. The most common
symptoms include sneezing, stuffy or runny nose,
and itchy or watery eyes. It most frequently occurs
during the spring or fall when trees, grasses,
and weeds are pollinating.
What are common Symptoms of Allergies?
Common allergy symptoms include sneezing, stuffy
or runny nose (allergic rhinitis), itchy nose,
itchy or watery eyes (allergic conjunctivitis),
asthma, and dermatitis. Other symptoms may include
chronic sinus infections, headaches, fatigue,
and GI upset.
How can I be tested for Allergies?
What are my treatment options for allergies?
After an ear, nose, and throat examination by
the E-N-T physician, you may be sent to the Allergy
Department for testing and treatment. We have
two ways in which to test for allergies, skin
testing and RAST testing (specific lgE). Skin
testing is just that, allergy testing on the skin.
The upper portion of the arm is used. After the
allergy history is reviewed, a series of skin
injections is performed to identify the offending
allergens. This is not usually painful. RAST testing
(specific lgE) is preferred for patients who cannot
discontinue certain medications which may interfere
with skin testing, the elderly, and the young.
After the allergy testing is completed, and allergies
have been identified, the Allergy Department staff
may offer counseling concerning avoidance, environmental
control of the allergens, medications, and desensitization
What is allergy immunotherapy and how does it
Immunotherapy is a long term treatment plan that
utilizes the body's immune system to reduce the
symptoms of allergy. Injections help build up
your immunity to the allergens that give you symptoms.
Over 80% of patients who receive allergy shots
experience significant improvement or complete
relief of their symptoms. The average time frame
that an allergic patient takes allergy injections
is 3 to 5 years.
The Allergy Team:
Lynn Unruh, RN, BSN
Kathy McLawhorn, BSMT
Teresa Nguyen, LPN
Links for more information:
Focus On Allergies-Asthma