Allergies

San Antonio Allergy Treatment with Dr. Jose Barrera and Dr. Nici Bothwell

Allergies affect over 60 million Americans annually, with nasal and airway allergies being the most common ailments. More specifically, rhinitis, or hay fever, may affect up to 40% of the adult U.S. population. Up to 14% of the people are affected by chronic sinusitis, a persistent and more severe form of rhinitis. 

Allergic reactions to irritants such as pollen, dust, and particles cause inflammation and swelling of the nasal lining, airways, and eyes. This causes breathing difficulties, persistent nasal drip, runny eyes, and itchiness. Patients suffering from allergic reactions or chronic sinusitis should consult trained, experienced, and certified professionals such as Dr. Jose Barrera and Dr. Nici Bothwell.

There are various treatments available to those suffering rhinitis and chronic sinusitis in San Antonio, TX. Learn more by reading on or scheduling a consultation with our experts today.

Allergy and Rhinitis

Allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, occurs when the immune system is agitated by airborne allergens. Our bodies’ immune system releases histamines as a defense mechanism against these allergens, triggering an allergic reaction.

Allergic rhinitis is characterized by inflammation of the nasal passage. This inflammation results in a runny or drippy nose, uncontrollable sneezing, and watery, puffy eyes.

Common triggers for allergic rhinitis include pollen, animal hair, mold, or types of dust. Allergic rhinitis can affect sleep, concentration, study, and work.

Allergy and Chronic Sinusitis

Like allergic rhinitis, chronic sinusitis is characterized by more severe swelling and inflammation of the nasal passage. This can often be complete swelling that seals the nasal airway, making it difficult for patients to breathe through their noses.

This condition has further implications such as headaches, thick nasal mucus, upper-facial pain, and coughs. Unlike allergic rhinitis, chronic sinusitis can be the result of a bacterial or viral infection, structural problems with the nose, as well as pollutants and allergens.

What is the Difference Between Shots and Drops for Allergy Treatment?

There are several different approaches to treating rhinitis and chronic sinusitis. The treatment depends on the severity of the ailment, the causes, and the preferences of the doctor and patient.

One way to treat allergic reactions that result in hay fever is with eye drops. Eye drops for treating allergic reactions contain antihistamines— compounds that block the action of allergic reaction-causing histamines.

These drops are only temporary solutions to allergic reactions, as they relieve symptoms but do not address the underlying problem of the bodies’ hypersensitivity to allergens. More comprehensive and permanent treatments, including immunotherapy, may be required for more severe allergic reactions.

What Allergy Medications Should I Take?

The best option to treat allergies is to consult with your doctor. Some allergies are very mild and only occur for several weeks or the year— particularly during spring when the pollen count is highest. In these cases, eye drops and nasal sprays are ideal treatments for allergic rhinitis. Decongestants are also useful in reducing the symptoms of an allergic reaction, as are steroids. However, these treatments only temporarily suppress the body’s response to the irritant.

Immunotherapy or SCIT

For some patients, immunotherapy, or desensitization, is the most viable route in treating allergic reactions. Commonly referred to as SCIT (subcutaneous immunotherapy), immunotherapy consists of controlled levels of the allergen being injected under the patient’s skin as a way to expose the immune system to the allergen gradually. Over time, the immune system becomes more familiar with the allergens and eventually stops overreacting to their presence— thus effectively treating the allergic reaction.  

For other patients, particularly those suffering from chronic sinusitis, sinus/nasal surgery is often required to treat the condition. In these cases, the issue is rooted in the physical structure of the nasal passageways instead of the immune systems’ response to irritants. 

**RESUMING IMMUNOTHERAPY AFTER LAPSE FROM COVID RESTRICTIONS**

Due to recently enforced stay-at-home orders and establishment shutdowns, many patients receiving immunotherapy have missed treatment sessions. Dr. Barrera would like to assure patients that resuming SLIT and immunotherapy is entirely safe without the need to deescalate dosing, and that patients will be able to start where they left off in their treatment.  

How to Test for Allergies

There are two main ways to test for allergies: scratch tests and blood tests. The scratch test is the simplest form, in which the medical professional will place a small amount of the potential irritant on the surface of the skin (such as pollen or dust) and then make a small scratch on the skin to allow the irritant into the body. If allergic to the substance, the skin will turn red and swell at the site as the immune system rushes to defend against the irritant.

Blood tests examine the blood composition to identify the presence or absence of specific antibodies that indicate allergies to certain irritants. 

Allergy Treatment in San Antonio, Texas

Allergies occur on a spectrum, from the mildly irritating to the potentially fatal. If you experience an allergic reaction in San Antonio, Texas, you should consult with a trained, experienced otolaryngologist such as Dr. Barrera or Dr. Bothwell. Consulting with a professional can help treat the allergic reaction and potentially save your life. Simply reach out to Dr. Barrera and his team at 210 468 5426 or fill out his online form here to arrange your consultation today.   

San Antonio Allergy Treatment FAQs

An otolaryngologic allergist is a highly specialized physician trained in the medical and surgical treatment of the ears, nose, and throat. Diagnosing and treating allergies and structural issues with the bodies’ airways is an essential part of the full discipline of otolaryngology.

Blooming cedar elm and ragweed are common irritants in San Antonio, Texas. Dust mites and cockroaches also commonly lead to allergies, and as such, patients should look at treating their homes for pests in addition to medical treatments.

Patients can get tested at any doctor’s office. However, it is strongly recommended to consult doctors specializing in treating airways and allergies as they have the most relevant experience.

Allergic reactions can cause the body to accumulate white blood cells, in particular eosinophils, in the esophagus. This can result in heartburn or reflux. Treating the allergic reaction with antihistamines can reduce this impact.

Allergic reactions often result in the swelling and inflammation of the airways, but in particular, inhaling these irritants can cause targeted swelling of the deeper airways. This completely cuts off the air supply and can be fatal if not properly treated. Patients with a history of asthma must have steroidal inhalers on them at all times.