Patients who do not improve with environmental controls or pharmacotherapy may turn to immunotherapy. “Of all the tools that we bring to the table, immunotherapy is the only one where we say, ‘This has the potential to cure you,’” Dr. Ferguson said. “The irony is that early exposure to farms and lots of pets—that is, exposure to more bacteria, enterotoxins, or to a dirtier environment—may ultimately protect you from developing allergies. But once you develop allergies, immunotherapy, which exposes you to ever increasing amounts of the allergen, ultimately results in desensitization,” she added.
Explore This IssueMarch 2010
“One key to success that I would impress on any practicing otolaryngologist is to remember that allergic disease impacts multiple sites in the head and neck that are within the realm of our practice: the eyes, the ears, the nose, the throat, the sinuses—all of these sites can be affected by allergies,” Dr. Ryan said. “All of these can be managed with a carefully considered management plan that includes pharmacologic therapy, some environmental controls, and, in many cases, a lot of patience from the patient and the caregiver.” ENTtoday