Vijay Sharma, MD, MPH

Trusted ENT Doctor in Jupiter Florida discusses Allergy Immunotherapy

Allergy Immunotherapy is a common way Ear, Nose, and Throat Doctors and medical allergists treat allergies.  It works by presenting a patient with very small amounts of the substances to which they are allergic.  With time, the patient develops more and more tolerance for these substances.   Thereafter, they have less sensitivities to these allergic environmental cues, and thus, less allergy symptoms.   


When performed properly, immunotherapy can give very good results.  Although generally very safe, this sort of treatment should only be performed with the supervision of a qualified health professional.


For patients seeking this more permanent solution for allergy management, the first step is allergy testing.  Patients can find out what they are allergic to with simple office-based testing.  For Dr. Sharma’s office, this testing is available in multiple locations. 


Once the provider knows what the patient is allergic to, a personalized serum is created for that patient.  This serum, unique only to that patient, is utilized to achieve the goals of immunotherapy.


In the United States, the most common type of immunotherapy is allergy shots, also called subcutaneous immunotherapy (SCIT).

Here’s a short video of Dr. Sharma’s discussing immunotherapy on his YouTube channel.


Immunotherapy of this type is delivered in two major phases – the “build up phase“ and the “maintenance phase.”  


The build up phase describes the initial treatment time, during which the patient’s immune system becomes more tolerant to bothersome environmental cues.  The build up phase can last months, or even a year or more.  Typically patients have allergy shots at least once a week during this time.


Often, patients have improvement of symptoms during the buildup phase.  Next, the patient enters the maintenance phase.  During this time, treatments become less frequent and may be offered every two to three weeks.  Overall, treatment time for immunotherapy can be two to five years.


In our practice, we also offer Needle Free Immunotherapy, known as sublingual immunotherapy or SLIT.  While not yet approved by FDA in the United States, needle free SLIT is common in Europe.  It has been estimated that up to nearly half of all European immunotherapy patients received this form of therapy.


In a broad sense, immunotherapy is the changing of the body’s internal defense systems to improve one’s health.  Immunotherapy is the only recognized treatment for the cause of allergy symptoms.  Otherwise, examples of treating allergy symptoms include avoidance of allergens (the things are allergic to), allergy tablets, and allergy nasal sprays.  All of these strategies do work, but share the shortcoming of giving temporary results. 


If you have allergy symptoms, including stuffy nose, postnasal drip, sore throat, sinus pressure or pain, itchy eyes or nose, you may wish to see what role allergies play in your life.  Our best advice is to see a Board Certified Otolaryngologist who can evaluate you in a way that no other physician can.


Using a comprehensive, broad-based approach an Otolaryngologist (ENT), like Dr. Sharma, can test for allergies, but also exclude other common causes of these types of symptoms.  Not infrequently, we find patients with chronic sinusitis or anatomic blockage of the nose or airway.

To schedule evaluation and/or testing, please call Dr. Sharma’s office today at Jupiter Office Phone Number 561-277-0699.

Trusted ENT Doctor in Jupiter Florida discusses Allergies

Allergies are a patient’s hypersensitivity to substances in their environment.  In other words, if you have allergies, your body creates a response, an overreaction, to environmental factors which way may not bother others.

A ‘high pollen day’ or dusty room may not bother your friend, but leaves your sneezy, stuffy, and miserable.

It has been estimated that more than 50% of people who suffer from ear, nose, or throat conditions also suffer from allergies.

Common ways that allergies show themselves in the body include postnasal drip, stuffy nose, itchy nose, runny nose, and snoring.  Other, perhaps less obvious, symptoms may include sore throat, cough, ear pain, excessive fatigue, irritability, and depression.

With our current technology, testing for allergies can be performed safely and quickly in the office setting.  In our practice, we test for common South Florida environmental sensitivities (and other worldwide sensitivities) and numerous food allergies.  Comprehensive allergy testing in our practice can be done safely in the office in a little over an hour.

Treatment for allergies can be as simple as avoidance of items and substances to which you are allergic.  This can be quite simple.  For instance, if a person is allergic to shellfish, then he or she can simply avoid shellfish from the menu.

However, in beautiful and sunny South Florida, it may be impossible to avoid grass or tree pollen, or even mold and mildews.  Another common allergy is sensitivity to dust, which is present on every continent.

For patients who simple avoidance is not enough, common medical allergy treatments include oral medications and various types of nasal sprays.  Both oral medications and nasal sprays can be available over-the-counter.  Others are available by prescription only.  Dr. Sharma can discuss with you what is best for your unique allergy profile, underlying medical conditions, lifestyle, and budget.

For some patients, daily allergy medications may only temporarily mask the underlying issue of moderate or severe allergic sensitivities.  Often, patients are seeking a more permanent solution.

With today’s technology, immunotherapy can provide a more permanent solution.  The basic concept behind immunotherapy is to improve the body’s tolerance to environmental factors which we cannot avoid.  Historically, allergy shots have been performed for generations with solid, predictable results.  In our practice, we have had great success with improving patient’s quality of life with immunotherapy.

Many patients find are Needle Free Immunotherapy better suited to their busy lifestyle.  Dr. Sharma can discuss the appropriateness of this cutting edge therapy for you.

Finally, an Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor (ENT or also called an Otolaryngologist), like Dr Sharma, is best suited to determine how much of your symptoms may be related to allergies, and how much may be related to other underlying medical conditions.

All too often, in our practice, we see patients who are treated for allergies elsewhere for years, but have not undergone simple yet comprehensive evaluation for other conditions.  Their results and progress can be poor.

Most commonly, we find patients with chronic sinusitis associated with allergies have not been appropriately screened for and diagnosed with sinusitis.  Treatment for these two conditions is different.

Only an ENT physician, like Dr Sharma, trains and practices in the medical and surgical management of allergy and sinus conditions.  Our Jupiter office is the premier North County (Palm Beach) location for easy, but comprehensive Allergy Evaluation.

Dr Sharma regularly attends national and international meetings for allergy and sinus issues.

Dr. Sharma’s office is located at 601 University Blvd #201, Jupiter, FL 33458.

Why wait.  Call today Jupiter Office Phone Number 561-277-0699.  Take on your allergies and improve your quality of life!

We accept all major insurance plans and Dr. Sharma is currently accepting new patients.


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Treating Allergies at Home Without Medicines

Allergies are a very common bodily hypersensitivity to the environment. Symptoms include stuffy nose, headache, sinus pressure, sore throat, postnasal drip, and fatigue.

A very effective treatment strategy for allergies and environmental sensitivities is avoidance. Simply by avoiding the things we are allergic to, we can have an improvement in symptoms. For instance, a patient who is very allergic to grass pollens, may wish to reconsider playing golf on the day the grounds crew cuts their favorite golf course. Go to the movies that day instead! Similarly, a patient with severe dust allergies may add an air filter to their house and office, or remove carpeting from the bedroom.

Since total avoidance is often not practical, then additional steps may be taken. Dilution or removal of nasal allergens (allergy provoking materials found in the environment) is possible with the use of simple nasal saline (salt water) sprays. Several nasal saline sprays are available over-the-counter.

Generally speaking, we prefer nasal saline sprays that are marked as isotonic (or ‘normal’) saline, not hypertonic. This isotonic saline more closely matches the salt concentrations within the body, thereby achieving desired outcome without over-drying the nose. Similarly, so-called ‘buffered’ nasal sprays may be favored for patient comfort.

Taking this concept of nasal saline sprays to the next level involves using commercially available high-volume nasal and sinus rinses. We favor those rinses that are commercially prepared and typically utilize prepackaged salt packets to be mixed at home with a clean or sterile water source. By using this method of prepackaged standardized salt packets, one can more closely approximate the normal salt concentrations of our own bodies.

So, for treatment of allergies, first consider avoidance of allergens. Next, consider elimination and/or dilution of these allergens within the nose utilizing saline sprays. Finally, you can consider using high-volume nasal saline nasal and sinus rinses.

If trying the above methods is not helpful, patients can also consider over-the-counter remedies for allergies. Be on the lookout for our upcoming blog that addresses the issue of over-the-counter medications for allergies.

To determine what you are allergic to, you can have allergy testing safely performed in the office in about an hour. Allergy testing for environmental sensitivities and food allergies is easily available through Dr. Sharma‘s office. Why suffer longer? Call today for an appointment Jupiter Office Phone Number 561-277-0699. We are accepting new patients.

Above represents general medical discussion and is not intended as specific advice for any patient, especially those with suspected or documented serious or severe allergies. We always recommend checking with your primary physician before changing your health routine in any way.

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