Allergy season is upon us again. Allergy symptoms can affect the throat and nasal areas, and they can also affect the skin. Allergies are a common cause of asthma in children and adults. Allergies are a serious issue that affects the whole body and can be treated with proper care. But who do you see to get the proper care: an ear, nose, and throat doctor near you or an allergist in your area? Both specialists have been trained with the best practices of treating allergies, so they know what works for you. However, there are small differences in what they treat that you will want to know about before scheduling your next appointment. First, let’s learn about what each specialist does:
An allergist, also known as an immunologist, is a doctor that specifically treats allergies and other immune problems. The primary goal of an immunologist is to find out if there are any specific causes of allergic reactions. A series of tests can be run to determine what is causing the allergic reactions and determine how serious they are. If the symptoms are severe enough, an immunologist may recommend a treatment plan for the allergy that can include a lifestyle change, medication, immunotherapy, and other treatments.
An otolaryngologist, or an Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor (ENT), is a specialist that treats ailments affecting the ears, nose, throat, and neck in general. ENTs provide a wide range of services including, but certainly not limited to, the following:
- Treatments for hearing loss
- Management of balance issues
- Cosmetic surgery of the inner/outer ear
- Allergy treatment
- Testing for throat and other cancers
- Cosmetic facial surgery
ENTs can treat small issues with the ears, nose, and throat, and they can also surgically treat very serious and complicated health conditions of the same. That can include simple physical tests and observations, blood and other chemical tests, genetic testing, scans, and even performing surgery.
So, how do you know which specialist to see and what kind of treatment is best for you? Though their treatments can sometimes overlap, there are certain instances in which you would want to see an allergist instead of an ENT, and there are other instances in which you would want to see an ENT instead of an allergist.
When to See an Allergist:
A person’s immune system is meant to attack and fight off any harmful substances or toxins that may be present in your body. When that immune system attacks a substance and reacts in an abnormal way, this is called an allergic reaction. Allergists specialize in determining what those substances are that invoke such a response from the patient’s immune system. If you are experiencing severe allergic reactions, an allergist, or immunologist, can run a variety of tests to determine what substances can be causing these reactions and provide treatment options for you. In summary, if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may want to schedule an appointment with an allergist:
- Cough that will not go away after OTC medication
- Allergic rashes/ hives
- Allergic reactions to food, stings or bites, and/or medication
- Extreme signs of asthma: wheezing, tightness in the chest, shortness of breath, etc.
When to See an ENT:
While an ENT can also treat allergies, an ENT is trained to treat diseases and conditions of a wider range in the ear, nose, and throat areas. Because the medical training of an ENT begins with surgical training with a specialty in head and neck medicine, their focus is structural problems of those areas of the body, which may or may not be allergy related. These specialists run tests like hearing tests, swallow studies, biopsies, nasal endoscopies, laryngoscopies, and others to get to the bottom of their patient’s illnesses to develop the best treatment. The following symptoms/ailments are often treated by ENTs and are a good sign to schedule an appointment as soon as possible with one:
- Hearing loss
- Chronic sinus/ear infections
- Consistent nasal congestion
- Sleep apnea
- Vertigo or chronic dizziness
If you have any questions about which specialist can best treat your ailments, contact the specialists at Camellia ENT. They can direct you to the best service options and provide you with the utmost care and consideration!