TAMPA, FL (August 2018) – Nearly 50 million people suffer from allergies in America. Unfortunately, because allergies share many symptoms with colds, they are often overlooked and misdiagnosed. During the back-to-school season especially, it is important to understand which symptoms you are experiencing, as treatment approaches are very different. At Florida E.N.T. & Allergy, we provide the Tampa Bay area patient specific testing and treatment services. A correct diagnosis is the first step, and proper treatment can lead to a drastically improved quality of life.

The common cold virus takes about three days from the time of infection to present symptoms. Colds generally last no more than 5 to 7 days, and symptoms should be gone completely within two weeks. Anything longer can suggest a bacterial infection. Cold viruses are often accompanied by spiking fever, chills, body aches, and thick, yellow mucus. Treatment for cold symptoms will typically include rest, ibuprofen, decongestants, zinc and various other medications.

In contrast to a cold, symptoms responsible for ENT allergies occur as soon as contact with an allergen is made. Common allergens are present in the air, and may include dust, mold, animal dander and pollen. Allergies to plant pollens and mold can be seasonal, occurring only when certain plants or trees are in bloom, or when mold is produced by rotting leaves. Florida is unique in that it is a perennial pollen state. Most allergies of the ear, nose and throat result in mild symptoms, which may, nonetheless, interfere with normal activities. Nasal rhinitis may result in sneezing, nasal congestion or a runny nose. Individuals with ear, nose and throat allergies may also suffer from headaches, in addition to itching and soreness in the throat and ears. More severe reactions to ear, nose and throat allergies, including anaphylaxis, are far less common but may be life-threatening. Allergy treatments are usually prescribed in the form of
over-the-counter or prescription topical steroid nasal sprays, or oral antihistamines. Short-term decongestants are also sometimes prescribed to clear nasal passages and improve breathing. Allergy shots can also be recommended to gradually create a tolerance in the patient to the allergen. This is known as immunotherapy. By far, the most effective treatment for allergies of the ear, nose and throat is to avoid the offending allergens, but that is not always possible.

Patients with severe allergies should come to one of our offices for allergy evaluation and testing. Allergy testing will identify the specific allergies causing your symptoms and enable us to start allergy immunotherapy. Immunotherapy is different from medications in that medications do not eliminate allergies permanently, but only give you temporary relief as long as you continue to take them. Immunotherapy, in contrast, will provide you with significantly better control of symptoms and if continued for several years, may lead to permanent loss of allergies. You will eventually be able to quit allergy treatment and have no return of allergy symptoms. At Florida E.N.T. & Allergy, we have a strong commitment to providing you with outstanding allergy treatment and care.

For more information about Florida E.N.T. & Allergy, please call (813) 879-8045.

About Florida E.N.T. & Allergy:
The physicians of Florida E.N.T. & Allergy have served the Tampa Bay community for over 40 years. Our board certified physicians have completed extensive education and clinical training as well as specialized training in their area(s) of expertise. From pediatric allergies to fitting hearing aids, our caring and experienced physicians specialize in ear; nose and throat care for the entire family-using comprehensive, cutting edge technologies.