For otolaryngologists, who are often the first-line of defense in diagnosing and treating many common respiratory ailments, differentiating the potential culprits behind sneezing, wheezing, stuffy nose, heavy chest, and chronic cough demands an ever-growing need to recognize and identify underlying conditions that include allergies and asthma.
Explore this issue:April 2009
No new turf for otolaryngologists, managing allergies has long been a central part of many otolaryngologic practices going back to the 1940s. What is fairly new to otolaryngology over the past 10 to 15 years, as evidenced-based medicine has taken root among all clinical areas, is the increasingly organized way in which otolaryngology manages allergies-and this, in turn, has forced a more comprehensive way of looking at patients.
As education in otolaryngology has become more codified, it has forced us to look at how effectively we are treating allergies, said Bradley F. Marple, MD, Professor of Otolaryngology at University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. It has become more apparent that people with allergic rhinitis will frequently have lower airway disease-in other words, asthma-and that to safely and effectively take care of allergies, many times we need to be aware of the asthma component.