Otolaryngologist, Dr. Robert Merritt explains why it's important to be tested for allergies and discusses some of the treatment options.

Shelby Stockton (00:00):
Welcome to the Barranco ENT audio blog. I'm Shelby Stockton, and today I talked about allergies with otolaryngologist, Dr. Robert Merritt. Dr. Merritt explains why it's important to be tested for allergies and discusses some of the treatment options. He educates us on the differences between allergy shots versus sublingual therapy, and if it's dangerous to ignore allergies over time. If you suffer from seasonal allergies and want to find out if there's any relief possible for you, take a few minutes of your day to listen to Dr. Merritt's advice.

Hi, Dr. Merritt. Thank you so much for spending some time with me today.

Dr. Robert Merrit (00:37):
Thanks for having me.

Shelby Stockton (00:38):
Yeah. Let's talk allergies. Why is it important to be tested for allergies?

Dr. Robert Merrit (00:44):
Well, I think by the time people get to our office with allergy problems, they've been through all of the various medical treatments and they're not working or only working partially, and by testing and identifying what people are allergic to, we can move forward in that treatment protocol with things like allergy injections, et cetera.

Shelby Stockton (01:17):
What are some treatment options?

Dr. Robert Merrit (01:20):
Well, treatment options initially would just be the standard antihistamines, nasal sprays, and even the leukotriene inhibitors such as singular. And then once you get to us, the treatment options would be allergy injections versus sublingual therapy versus avoidance. Although avoidance is generally not a easy or successful route.

Shelby Stockton (01:53):
Okay. Well, what is the difference between allergy shots and versus sublingual therapy?

Dr. Robert Merrit (02:00):
Allergy shots are the standard tried and true weekly injections. They can be done at home or in the office. The theory behind both of the techniques, sublingual and allergy injections, are that you're building up your immune system to block these allergens. So, both systems work the same but with different techniques, period. The sublingual therapy is more drops done on a daily basis and all done at home, again, building up your immune system.

Shelby Stockton (02:51):
Are there any risks if a person doesn't get treated for allergies over time?

Dr. Robert Merrit (02:58):
Just for standard allergy treatment, probably not a ton of risks, but if you have asthma or other underlying conditions, I think ignoring the allergies does become riskier and more problematic.

Shelby Stockton (03:19):
Okay. What would you say to somebody who's just constantly using over-the-counter drugs to deal with their allergies? Can you build an immunity to that? Should they come in then, or is it totally fine to continue to use the over-the-counter stuff?

Dr. Robert Merrit (03:33):
What I would say to them is that they are band-aiding the problem rather than fixing the problem. I think if you only need to band-aid it a few weeks out of the year, then that may be the easiest thing to do. But if you are ending up needing to be on medications daily, then we can do a lot better with a more permanent treatment protocol through immunotherapy.

Shelby Stockton (04:08):
Wonderful. Dr. Merritt, thanks for your time. I really appreciate it.

Dr. Robert Merrit (04:12):
Thanks for having me.

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