Woman blowing her nose

Allergy testing helps doctors identify the allergens causing a reaction. Read on to understand how the knowledge gained gives you and your doctor the ability to develop a personalized treatment plan.

Shelby Stockton: (00:00)
Welcome to the South Florida ENT audio blog. I'm your host, Shelby Stockton. Today I spoke with Maria Adams, the office allergist supervisor for Hollywood. Allergy season is here. So Maria explains why it's so important to be tested for allergies. We discussed some of the treatment options and the potential risks if you don't get treated for allergies over time. If you suffer from seasonal allergies, take some time to listen to this episode.

Hi Maria, how are you today?

Maria Adams (00:30):
Hi Shelby. I'm doing well, thank you.

Shelby Stockton (00:32):
So today we're going to talk about allergies and I know my friends and family and myself included are experiencing seasonal allergies right now. Why is it important to be tested for allergies?

Maria Adams (00:46):
Well, the important thing about the allergy testing is to really identify if your symptoms are due to allergies. That's the best way the doctor can treat you. Most especially with seasonal allergies, some people have all year allergies and the symptoms are very similar to any cold or flu symptoms. So a lot of patients tend to think that they have flues or colds and they want to go to the doctor because they need antibiotics and so on.

And what happenes is when you do have allergies, if you are not treated, it can become symptoms of infection, sinus infections, so on and so forth. And by identifying that the allergies or whatever is causing the problem, which it will be the allergies, it will help the doctor treat the patient better without antibiotics. We will treat them for the symptoms of the allergies. Because with medications, once they get the medications you're treating the symptoms, with the allergy treatment, you are treating the problem. So the best way is to identify if that's the issue, that's what is causing the problem. Therefore the physicians can treat them better.

Shelby Stockton (02:15):
Okay, that makes sense. You want to make sure you're treating the right thing. Okay. So what are some treatment options for allergies?

Maria Adams (02:23):
With allergies you have different treatments. After your patient is tested and we identify that the patient is indeed allergic and those are the symptoms as due to the allergies, then we can offer different things. Most of the time we offer, at our office we have two different treatments. We have SLIT, which is sublingual therapy. Patients can take that treatment at home and administer by themselves via drops under the tongue.

We also have IDT, which is injections that the patient can comes once a week to be treated by our technicians. They will get injected a small amount of the allergen that they are positive to or are allergic to and therefore we create an immunity against that. We will make sure their mast cells or immune systems recognize those allergies and therefore the patient will be less symptomatic and depend less on medication. Because remember when you treat patients with medications for allergies, you're treating the symptom, you're not treating the problem.

With both therapies we can treat the problem, therefore the patient will not depend so much on allergy medications and will be less symptomatic throughout the year.

Shelby Stockton (03:52):
Wow, that's amazing. On average, how many allergy patients do you treat at your location?

Maria Adams (04:00):
At our location as CC8 Hollywood, I treat around 400 patients.

Shelby Stockton (04:08):

Maria Adams (04:08):
Over 400 patients. The rest of our offices aren't as busy. We treat over 1,000, over 1,200 patients if not more throughout the entire care center, which is CC8.

Shelby Stockton (04:26):

Maria Adams (04:26):
We just opened a new Florida office a week before, two weeks ago and we already have patients going in there. Florida is, I would call it the mecca of allergy. Because due to the environment that we have, the humidity, the rain, we do have a lot of molds and pollens, different type of pollens. So a lot of people who are not even, especially people who move from other areas, they come in and they start developing allergies, but it's because of the type of climate that we have.

So like I said, we see a lot of patients throughout the day for injections alone. In our Hollywood office we see over 40 patients for injections alone and we do four to five tests a day. If I have two tests, I can't do even anymore. But we are extremely busy, busy practice. And the patients come in because they do realize that is allergies what is affecting them. And when they start the treatment they realize how m benefits they get from that. And their goal is not to depend on medications and with the allergy, either droppers, which is a slip or AET, which is injections, the patient see the benefits. And see it is a natural, sort of a natural treatment because we don't use any chemicals.

Whatever the patient is allergic to, that is what he will be injected or he or she will be injected with. And by doing that we're forcing, like I said, the mast cells or immune system to recognize those allergens and create some sort of immunity. I don't know if you know that when you take a medication for a long period of time, eventually it will not work. You will have to change to a similar medication but different brands or maybe different components. The idea of the immunotherapies by us injecting them are biologic to. Like I said, their mast cells or immune system will recognize them and they create some sort of immunity to it.

Unfortunately it's not that they will never have allergies again. We do when we treat the patients, we can see that will eliminate a lot of those allergens or the level of sensitivity will decrease a lot within time and it is very beneficial. I'm myself a patient of allergy and I believe in it because it help me so much and I see how much it helps the patients.

Shelby Stockton (07:16):
Great. That is a perfect segue to my next question, which is are there risks if you don't get treated over time?

Maria Adams (07:24):
The risk that the patient have is the patient can develop asthma. But there's something called asthma induced biology or allergy induced asthma and a lot of patients can develop that. You can get chronic sinusitis, chronic sinus infections. It does affect the ears because allergies not only the itchy, watery eyes, there's missing, is missing. Allergies are a lot more than that. Allergy makes you tired. Allergy gives you sinus infections, gives you postnasal drip, affect your ears, affect your lungs in a long period of time.

If the person has weak immune system or has developed or has asthma, their asthma can get worse. So it is, that's the risk of them developing asthma that then turns symptomatic, constantly getting some sinusitis or an infection that it will be even more difficult to treat as we go.

Shelby Stockton (08:29):
Okay. So get tested everybody if you think you have allergies, get to the doctor's office. Maria, thank you so much. I really appreciate your time. I know you're very busy.

Maria Adams (08:39):
Of course. No, no for my pleasure. If you need anything else from me, just I'm here to help, okay?

Shelby Stockton (08:48):
Thank you so much.

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