Spokane Ear, Nose and Throat Clinic has been providing allergy evaluation and treatment options to patients from the Inland Empire for several decades, in fact it is the home of the oldest allergy department in Eastern Washington. Allergies frequently cause symptoms of the ears, nose or throat such as sneezing, nasal obstruction, hearing loss from fluid behind the eardrum, or chronic voice problems and cough. Ear, nose and throat physicians (otolaryngologists) are therefore ideally equipped to evaluate and treat these and related problems. All of our physicians are qualified to evaluate these problems, and with the help of the allergy department, to find a solution which best meets the needs of each individual patient.
Allergy problems can be treated by avoidance, pharmacotherapy (medications), or immunotherapy (allergy shots). Some problems related to allergy such as ear infections, sinus infections, and nasal obstruction can also be treated with surgery. Again, ear, nose and throat physicians are ideally qualified to evaluate and treat these problems, as all of these treatment “tools’ are available to them. Many of our physicians are members of the American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy, and are known as “Otolaryngic Allergists.”
There are many excellent medications available to treat allergy problems. These medications can be taken systemically (pills or shots) or topically (drops or sprays). After interviewing and examining the patient, our doctors can make a recommendation for best treatment. Sometimes patients do not tolerate medications, the medications do not work, or patients seek a more long-term solution to their problems. These patients may be ideal candidates for allergy shots, or immunotherapy. Immunotherapy used to be called “desensitization,” and is done by injecting increasing amounts of the substances known as antigens (typically “inhalants” such as pollens, molds, animal dander, or insect antigens, but not usually foods) under the skin every week for several months or years to “desensitize” the patient to the antigens or allergens. The goal of immunotherapy is to manipulate the immune system, so that the patient is no longer allergic to the substance for which they are being treated.
In order to begin immunotherapy, the patient must be tested to determine their specific sensitivities or allergies. Sometimes it is valuable to determine allergies so that patients may avoid those allergens to which they are most sensitive. There are many methods used to determine allergies. The Allergy Department at Spokane Ear, Nose and Throat Clinic uses Skin Endpoint Titration to determine allergies. This method is advantageous over other methods, as it identifies and quantifies (demonstrates the severity of) allergies. Once our physicians know how severe a patient’s allergies are, they can be treated with allergy shots safer, faster, and better than if the severity is not known. Sometimes a blood test (In Vitro test, sometimes known as RAST test) is used by our physicians to determine a patient’s allergies. In Vitro tests can also be very accurate.
Allergy Department Services
The allergy department at Spokane ENT assists the physicians of the clinic by performing allergy testing, mixing allergenic extracts for immunotherapy, and administering allergy shots. They also serve as a resource to our patients by providing counseling services regarding avoidance of allergens, including both inhalants and foods.