What are Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) Allergies?
Allergic reactions are abnormal responses of the immune system triggered by the presence of certain innocuous substances that are generally considered harmless to most people. Such reactions involving the ear, nose, and throat are generally called ENT allergies.
Causes of ENT Allergies
Common allergens responsible for ENT allergies are dust, mold, animal dander, and pollen. Allergies to plant pollens and mold can be seasonal, occurring only when certain plants or trees are in bloom, or when mold is produced by rotting leaves.
Symptoms of ENT Allergies
Generally, the reactions caused by ear, nose, or throat allergies may only result in mild symptoms, which may, however, interfere with normal activities. These include:
- Repeated sneezing
- Nasal congestion or a runny nose
- Itching and soreness in the throat and ears.
- Constant fatigue
Treatment for ENT Allergies
Some common ENT treatment options are:
- Medication: The various types of medications used for the treatment of ENT allergies include:
- Antihistamines: They are helpful in treating sinus issues brought on by allergies. These are also effective for bacterial infections. They work by blocking the action of certain chemical compounds (histamines) which cause allergy symptoms.
- Decongestants: They are helpful in alleviating stuffy nose symptoms and act by shrinking the swollen blood vessels in the nasal cavity.
- Nasal Corticosteroids: They are used as nasal sprays and can reduce inflammation of the nasal lining.
- Allergy Eye Drops: They help relieve itchy and watery eyes, burning sensation, redness, or swelling in the eye caused by allergens.
- Sublingual Drops: They are a very effective and safe method of treating allergies as they are fast-acting and are not administered using a needle.
- Immunotherapy: If your allergies are causing persistent problems, immunotherapy might be your best option. Allergy shots help reduce the body's reaction to specific allergens. They are considered the best long-term treatment method for seasonal, insect bites, and indoor allergies.
The least invasive and safest method for preventing allergies is to avoid specific allergens that might trigger your immune responses. This includes:
- Encasing your mattress and pillows in dust mite-proof cases.
- Removing carpets from your home and replacing them with easy to clean material such as hardwood or linoleum.
- Using only washable window coverings, such as cotton or synthetic curtains.
- Keeping your windows closed during the pollen season.
- Keeping potted plants out of the house.
- Avoiding the use of a wood-burning fireplace or stove, as the smoke may cause respiratory allergies.
- Washing the sink regularly and not letting dishes pile up, to avoid your sink turning into a breeding ground for mold.
- Washing or replacing shower curtains and bathmats on a regular basis.
- Avoiding smoking inside your home.
- Making sure to bathe pets once a week and keeping them out of your bedroom and off the furniture.