Living in the Louisville region, chances are you or someone close to you is affected by allergies. Nationally, allergies and asthma affect about 1 in 5 people. Louisville ranks in the top ten of the nation’s “allergy capitals,” according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
Most allergy symptoms occur in the head and neck. Thus, this is the area in which our otolaryngologists specialize as physicians and surgeons. In fact, UofL Physicians – ENT’s Dr. Kevin Potts is only one of a handful of fellows of Otolaryngic Allergy in the region.
We offer allergy testing and treatment, including intradermal skin testing in addition to skin prick testing. This type of testing is more sensitive in identifying more patients with allergies. Intradermal testing also allows for a safer but higher starting dose of therapy so patients can obtain faster symptom relief. UofL Physicians – ENT uses sublingual immunotherapy in addition to allergy shots. Sublingual Immunotherapy (SLIT) uses an allergen solution given under the tongue, which over the course of treatment reduces sensitivity to allergens. SLIT is less risky than allergy shots and is given at home. It is ideal for some kids.
Patients with allergies who see ENT allergists can go to just one doctor for sinus, throat and ear problems. If surgery or other treatment is necessary, the ENT Allergist can handle it all without multiple physicians caring for the patient.
Diseases & Conditions
We have expertise in:
- Allergic Rhinitis: inflammation of the nasal mucous membranes due to allergens
- Asthma with a particular emphasis on identifying allergic triggers and helping you avoid them
- Food allergies
- Contact Dermatitis
- Urticaria (or “hives”)
- Management of drug allergies, including drug testing, challenge and desensitization
- Stinging insect allergies
- Immune deficiency workups for recurrent pneumonias and other infections
- Occupational asthma or allergies
Allergies can be triggered by:
- Outdoor: pollens from trees, grasses, and weeds or outdoor molds
- Indoor: pets, dust, cockroaches and mold
- Stinging insects
- Workplace chemicals
Common allergy symptoms we treat are:
- Nasal congestion
- Runny nose
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Sinus problems
- Allergic rashes
- Breathing problems
- Sleep problems
Treatments & Services
UofL Physicians-Allergy & Immunology uses a variety of over-the-counter and prescription medications when determining the most effective treatment plan for each patient. Medications can include sinus rinses, antihistamines, decongestants, intranasal corticosteroids, leukotriene antagonists, eye drops and asthma inhalers.
Allergen Immunotherapy (Allergy shots)
Immunotherapy (allergy shots) is aimed at increasing your tolerance to allergens that trigger your symptoms every time you are exposed to them. Allergy shots work like a vaccine. Your body responds to the injected amounts of a particular allergen (given in gradually increasing doses) little by little, developing a resistance and tolerance to it. Allergy shots can lead to decreased, minimal or no allergy symptoms when you are again exposed to the allergens in the shot. UofL Physicians-Allergy conduct a thorough series of allergy tests to determine how allergy shots can best benefit you.
Allergen Immunotherapy can often offer a significant reduction in allergy and asthma symptoms, a reduction in the need for medication, prevention of fatal reactions to stinging insects, prevention of other diseases, and slow the development of asthma and new allergies.
Food allergy testing and treatment
Food allergies have become an increasingly serious problem. What makes them particularly concerning is that they can be life threatening, especially in children. The testing for food allergy is not perfect. A positive skin test or the blood test for food allergy doesn’t necessarily mean that person is allergic to the food. Therefore, the only way to know if a person is allergic to the food is if they actually eat it and see what happens.
Since food allergies are potentially life threatening, these “food challenges” must be conducted under the supervision of an allergist. Most allergy practices are reluctant to perform food challenges and therefore recommend that the person continue to avoid certain foods, even though they may not be allergic to it. Avoiding food affects quality of life – food is an important part of daily living and some restricted diets are difficult to maintain plus the anxiety of what will happen if they accidentally eat the food. Our allergists will take the time and effort with a patient to perform food challenges to give you definitive answers on what food to avoid, as well as lifestyle changes and treatment options.