Sherwin Ritz, MD                
Ears, Nose, and Throat

ENT Specialist
Otolaryngology

119 E. Jefferson St., Morris, IL 60450. 
Contact Us
(815) 941-0400
(815) 941-0493 Fax

We offer pediatric
ENT services

Call 815-941-0400 for an Appointment

What are Allergies?

The term ALLERGY means an acquired and/or genetic potential for developing a number of conditions that are controlled by the IMMUNE system. There is usually an exaggerated response upon re-exposure to the offending agent causing an internal chemical explosion releasing INFLAMMATORY MEDIATORS that cause a whole host of diseases.

ALLERGIC RHINITIS consists of sneezing, runny nose, itching, congestion which can be either seasonal or all year around. The symptoms can be incapacitating and causes almost 3.8 million missed days of school/word each year. Approximately 40 million people in the US suffer from AR, which includes 10%-30% of adults and up to 40% of children. The estimated total direct costs are around $4.5 billion per year. AR contributes to chronic recurrent OTITS MEDIA (ear infections), chronic recurrent RHINOSINUSITIS (sinus infections), NASAL POLYPOSIS (abnormal nasal tissues), and chronic CONJUNCTIVITS (eye infections). Allergies can interfere with sleep and contribute to generalized fatigue.

FOOD REACTIONS represent a group of disorders, some of which are characterized by the immune system responses to food proteins. The highest prevalence of food allergies is in the first few years of life and is higher in children who already have other allergies. Around 35% of children with ATOPIC DERMATITS also have food allergies. Common food proteins include eggs, milk, wheat, and soy which many infants “outgrow” by the time they are between 5-10 years of age. Other proteins include peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish, which typically children keep for the rest of their lives. These foods account for almost 90% of food reactions in children. Peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish account for almost 90% of food reactions in adults. Theoretically, however, almost any food that is a protein can cause an allergic reaction.

POLLENS are the most common causes of allergic diseases. Primarily, the inhaled ones consist of trees, grasses, weeds, molds, dust mites, animal proteins, and latex. CONTACT pollens include plants, drugs, cosmetics, jewelry, latex products, and occupational chemicals/dyes. Injected causes are drugs, allergy shots, blood products, and stinging insects. Exposure to pollen stimulates the immune system to overproduce the allergy antibody, IgE. Age then binds to several immune cells called MAST CELLS at the same time. This causes them to strike each other, breaking apart, releasing millions of allergy chemicals or MEDIATORS in the body which then are the cause of the various allergy symptoms. The exposure to pollens causes first SENSITIZATION, followed by the EARLY PHASE, usually within minutes of exposure, and the LATE PHASE, which can occur within hours to days of initial exposure.

Other conditions that may have an allergic component include:

  • URTICARIA – hives
  • ANGIOEDEMA – swelling
  • DRUG REACTIONS
  • INSECT STINGS
  • LATEX
  • ANAPHYLACTIC/ANAPHYLACTOID REACTIONS  - life threatening
  • CHRONIC COUGH
  • PERSISTENT CONGESTION
  • HEADACHES
  • PERSISTENT POST NASAL DRIP/CLEARING OF THE THROAT

Treat Your Allergies Effectively To Lead A Healthy Life

If you are suffering badly from constant attacks of allergies, then you must be feeling frustrated. You cannot enjoy the fresh smells of flowers of enjoy the warm weather outside. While the pollens from flowers cause inhalation problems, the warm touch of sun causes skin rashes on your body. When life appears hopeless, I will help you with the best treatments that will ease your allergic situation to a great extent. You must be wondering about what are the ways allergies can be treated.

Well the easiest way to treat allergy is to stay away from the things that can cause allergic reactions. For example, if people have allergy to shellfish, then they should not be consuming shellfish at all. People with dust mite allergies should make use of air-purifiers to reduce all the allergens from the air. Since it will become truly difficult for you to move from polluted areas to cleaner places, you start undertaking treatments to stop allergies from becoming less severe.

Allergy shots and Allergy Drops

One option is immunotherapy. It is a form of treatment where the patient is gradually vaccinated with larger doses of allergens. This will reduce the severity or eliminate hypersensitivity altogether.

Allergy shots are given in a physician’s office every week until you are on a maintenance dose.

Allergy drops are administered at home on a daily basis by the patient themselves.

Medications to Stop Before In-Office Allergy Testing

Stop these medications 14 days before your appointment:

  • Atarax® (Loratadine)
  • Clarinex® (Desloratadine)
  • Claritin® (Loratadine)
  • Loratadine (Claritin, Alavert)

Stop these medications 4 days before your appointment

Actifed                                                                                                 Kronofed
Allegra® (Fexofenadine)                                                                 Meclizine (Antivert)
Astelin® (Azelastine)                                                                        Methdilazine HCI (Tacaryl)
Antihist                                                                                                Naldecone
Axid® (nizatidine)                                                                              Novafed-A
Azatadine (Optimine, Trinalin)                                                        Ornade
Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)                                                          Patanase
Bromfed                                                                                               Pepcid® (famotidine)
Brompheniramine                                                                             Phenergan (Promethazine)
Cabinoxamine (Rondec)                                                                  Phenindamine (Nolamine, Nolahist)
Chlopheniramine (Chlortrimeton)                                                  Pheniramine (Polyhistine D)
Clemastine (Tavist)                                                                           Poly-Histine-D
Cyproheptadine (Periactin)                                                              Promethazine HCI (Phenegan)
Deconamine                                                                                       Pyrilamine (Kronohist, Rynatan)
Desloratidine (Clarinex)                                                                   Rynatan
Dimenhydrinate (Dramamine)                                                        Tagamet® (cimetidine)
Dimetapp                                                                                             Tavist
Diphenylpyraline (Hispril)                                                                 Trinalin
Doxylamine (Bendectin, Nyquil)                                                       Triprolidine (Actifed)
Drixoral                                                                                                  Zantac® (ranitidine)
Dura-tab                                                                                                Zyrtec® (Cetirizine)

If you are taking an oral antihistamine that is not listed above, stop the medicine for 4 days before your appointment. If you are not sure, please contact our office.

Some antidepressants can also act as antihistamines and will also interfere with skin testing. Some examples include:

  • Tricyclic antidepressants: amitryptiline, Elavil, Adapin, Sinequan, Tofranil, Trazadone, etc.
  • Muscle Relaxants – ie. Flexeril, etc.
  • Sleeping pills – ie. Ambien, etc.

Please inform us if you are on any antidepressants before skin testing. Do not stop antidepressants for any reason without checking with your primary care doctor first.