Do you dread spring and summer because of your seasonal allergies? Why be miserable with sneezing, itching, watery eyes and worries about asthmatic wheezing? The physicians at Head & Neck Associates of Orange County can help. Highly credentialed specialists in all things allergy in Mission Viejo, Laguna Hills, San Clemente and Irvine , these ENT (ear, nose, and throat) doctors can evaluate your symptoms, test you for your specific triggers and put together a treatment plan to help you feel your best.
What are allergens?
Allergens are everywhere. They may be food-related, airborne or contacted by touch. These substances by themselves may be harmless, but to people whose immune systems are sensitive to them, allergens trigger reactions that vary from a mild runny nose or an upset stomach to life-threatening anaphylactic shock.
The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology states that our bodies produce substances called immunoglobulins (IgE) when we contact allergens. An excessive amount of immunoglobulins causes allergy symptoms.
Common allergens include animal dander, dust mites, mold, pollen, peanuts, shellfish and laundry additives. Seasonal allergic rhinitis affects millions of Americans with its culprits being mold and pollens from grasses, flowers, shrubs, and trees. While rain helps control these substances by washing them away, vegetation usually responds with rebound quantities of pollen that send measurable pollen counts sky high.
What you can do
Avoidance of your seasonal allergy triggers in Mission Viejo, Laguna Hills, San Clemente and Irvine, really helps. Monitor your area's pollen count (www.pollen.com) during times of peak symptoms. Close your windows, and use the A/C. Taking over the counter antihistamines helps suppress your body's overreaction to allergic triggers as does simply washing your hands and face and changing your clothes after contacting allergens.
Of course, the physicians at Head & Neck Associates of Orange County provide help for seasonal allergies. Skin patch testing on the back or intradermal testing on the arm safely identifies what you are allergic to by introducing small amounts of common allergens under the skin. The doctor reads and interprets the reactions and prescribes a course of treatment which could include:
- Over the counter allergy medications
- Avoidance strategies as described above
- Allergy shots, injections of tiny amounts of allergens which allow the body to desensitize, or become accustomed to, what triggers symptoms
Have you had enough?
Let the experts at Head & Neck Associates of Orange County in Mission Viejo, Laguna Hills, San Clemente and Irvine, help you live well without the scratchy throat, coughing, sneezing and drippy nose of seasonal allergy. Contact the office today to arrange a consultation with one of our otolaryngologists. Call to make an appointment.
Thyroid issues are a common problem seen by doctors at the Head and Neck Associates of Orange County located in Mission Viejo, Laguna Hills, San Clemente and Irvine. The thyroid can affect a number of other systems in the body that are responsible for ensuring that you look and feel healthy. Learn more about the treatment options for thyroid related conditions, including thyroid surgery.
What is the Thyroid?
The thyroid is a gland located in your neck that helps regulate your metabolism. It is partially responsible for your strength and vitality, weight, breathing rate, muscles, heart rate and even menstrual cycles in women. It releases hormones that the body needs to remain healthy. The levels of those hormones must stay in a certain range—if they’re too high or low, thyroid issues can develop as well as other medical concerns.
Common Thyroid Problems
According to the American Thyroid Association, about 20 million Americans have some type of thyroid disorder. These are the most common:
- Hyperthyroidism (too much activity from the gland).
- Hypothyroidism (too little activity).
- Enlarged thyroid and lumps (also called goiter).
In some cases, these disorders can be successfully managed with medication and better dietary choices. In other cases, surgery by a doctor at Head and Neck Associates of Orange County in Mission Viejo, Laguna Hills, San Clemente and Irvine may be required to resolve the issue.
Surgery of the thyroid gland is often needed when there are enlarged nodules or growths that are putting pressure on the esophagus or trachea. If a biopsy reveals cancerous cells, that is also a case that will likely require thyroid surgery. The procedure involves removal of a portion of the gland that is causing problems and in some cases, the entire thyroid gland must be removed.
Consult a Head and Neck Doctor
The decision on whether thyroid surgery is necessary will be made after a careful examination by a doctor at Head and Neck Associates of Orange County. There are convenient locations in Mission Viejo, Laguna Hills and San Clemente. Call one of the office locations today to schedule an appointment.
Seasonal allergies can quickly turn a beautiful spring day into a miserable time. However, understanding the most common allergens and how they can affect you is important in being able to avoid them and, in turn, avoid an allergy attack. Learn more about common allergens and how they affect you with Head and Neck Associates of Orange County with locations in Laguna Hills, San Clemente, Irvine and Mission Viejo, CA.
- Grass and Tree Pollen: Often referred to as hay fever and known medically as allergic rhinitis, grass and tree pollen is a very common allergen which affects many people seasonally. Plants release pollen during their flowering seasons, normally in spring, though pollen can occur year-round.
- Animals: Pet dander, which is simply the naturally-occurring dead skin cells sloughed off of an animal’s skin, is the most common cause of animal allergies. However, people can also experience an allergic reaction due to proteins found in an animal’s saliva or urine.
- Dust: This common allergen affects people everywhere. An area does not necessarily need to be obviously dirty or dusty to trigger an allergic reaction.
- Food: Food allergies affect millions of people worldwide and can range from mild reactions like an itchy throat to severe reactions like anaphylaxis.
Allergy Testing in Laguna Hills, San Clemente, Irvine and Mission Viejo, CA
If you suffer from allergic reactions but are unsure exactly what you are allergic to, your ear, nose, and throat doctor can help you narrow down the causes of your reactions. An allergy test usually takes the form of a scratch test, where your doctor places various allergens onto the skin, then scratches it to allow it to enter the body. If the area reacts to the allergen, the patient is allergic. If no reaction occurs, the patient is not allergic.
For more information on allergies or their treatments, please contact Head and Neck Associates of Orange County with locations in Laguna Hills, San Clemente, Irvine and Mission Viejo, CA. To schedule an appointment at the most convenient location for you, call (949) 364-4361.
There are several options for treating sinusitis. Treatments include medications, such as decongestants, antihistamines and nasal sprays, as well as flushing the sinuses. Unfortunately, these treatments are not effective for some patients. For individuals with sinusitis that is chronic or unresponsive to traditional treatments, sinus surgery can help. The doctors at the Head and Neck Associates of Orange County perform sinus surgery in Laguna Hills, San Clemente, Irvine and Mission Viejo, CA.
What is Sinusitis?
Sinusitis, also known as a sinus infection, is a condition in which the pathways that help the sinuses drain become blocked or inflamed. When these pathways are inflamed or blocked, then the sinuses cannot drain properly. Individuals who develop sinusitis can experience congestion, sinus headaches and difficulty breathing, among other symptoms. There are a variety of medications available to alleviate the symptoms of sinusitis, including nasal sprays, decongestants, antihistamines and antibiotics. Flushing the sinuses can help, as well.
Unfortunately, medications and flushing techniques do not always provide adequate or long-term relief from sinusitis. When that’s the case, sinus surgery can help. Sinus surgery helps by enlarging the pathways that drain the sinuses. Signs you may need sinus surgery include:
- The sinusitis is chronic
- The sinusitis has not improved with nonsurgical treatments
- Anatomic abnormalities are present in the nasal or sinus passages
Once a doctor has determined that you are a candidate for sinus surgery in Laguna Hills, San Clemente, Irvine or Mission Viejo, there are several options. Two common types of sinus surgery are Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery and Balloon Sinus Surgery. The type of sinus surgery performed will depend on your specific diagnosis. Benefits of either type of surgery include immediate and long-lasting relief from sinusitis and a short recovery period. Patients can typically return to normal activity 24 hours after surgery.
Functional endoscopic sinus surgery is performed using a nasal endoscope. The endoscope enables the doctor to see the inside of the sinus pathways. During the procedure, the doctor will clear away any blockages, such as polyps, excess tissue or small bits of bone. Once the procedure is complete, patients can enjoy open, clear sinus passages.
Balloon sinus surgery is performed by inserting a balloon catheter into the sinus pathways. Once the catheter is inside the sinus pathways, the balloon is inflated causing the sinus pathways to expand. A saline solution is sprayed into the expanded sinus pathways to flush out mucus and other debris clogging the sinuses. Once the sinuses are clear, the balloon is deflated and the catheter removed. Afterward, the sinuses remain clear and open with no further problems with sinusitis.
If you suffer from chronic sinusitis that does not improve with other treatments, you might benefit from sinus surgery. The Head and Neck Associates of Orange County offer sinus surgery in Mission Viejo, CA, with additional office locations in Laguna Hills, San Clemente and Irvine. To schedule an appointment or consultation at any of the office locations, call (949) 364-4361.
- Taking over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants
- Irrigating your nasal passages with saline and water
- Trying linens and pillowcases that are allergy-proof
- Placing allergy or HEPA filters in your house, especially your bedroom
- Nasal congestion, a runny nose and watery eyes
- Coughing, wheezing or chest congestion
- A rash, itchy skin or eczema
- An itchy throat, nose or eyes
- Skin tests-during which tiny amounts of different allergens are injected just under your skin; you will know you are allergic to the substance if you see swelling or a rash within 20 minutes.
- Challenge tests-used to diagnose medication and food allergies, during which you inhale or ingest a tiny amount of allergen to test for a reaction
- Blood tests-a sample of your blood is sent to a laboratory where testing is completed
Remember it’s never too early to seek help from an allergist. Your allergist can help you get relief from allergies at any time of the year. Don’t wait! Call today and feel better tomorrow!
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