What’s the Difference Between an Allergist and an ENT?

Are allergists just for allergy season? The answer is no!…

Are allergists just for allergy season? The answer is no!

When the traditional allergy season winds down and people begin to experience symptoms affecting their noses and throats, they may debate whether to book an appointment with an allergist or an ENT. How do you know which doctor to visit? And what exactly is the difference between an allergist and an ENT?

An allergist is a physician who specializes in the medical management of nasal inflammation, asthma, and food reactions.

ENT doctors specialize in structural problems that can be corrected with surgery, such as cartilage or bone defects. In general, an ENT is considered a surgical specialist because their medical training begins with general surgery and then they continue on to training in head and neck medicine.

An otolaryngologist (or “Ear Nose and Throat doctor”) treats conditions that affect the ear, nose, throat, head, and neck, that may or may not be allergy related. These issues include speaking, hearing, swallowing, balance, nasal passages, and sinuses. A patient with nasal breathing difficulties, a sore throat, or trouble hearing would visit an ENT.

Board certified allergists receive years of training in the diagnosis, treatment and management of allergic conditions in addition to their internal medicine and/or pediatric accreditation.

Allergies may affect many parts of the body and organ systems, including the skin, lungs, gastrointestinal system, eyes, ears, and sinuses. Allergists receive substantial training in treating all of a patient’s allergic symptoms regardless of what parts of the body are impacted. Allergists can carefully, knowledgeably, and holistically guide patients through allergy treatment.

Seasonal allergies cause approximately 20% of allergic rhinitis cases and 40% are chronic rhinitis, according to an In-Depth Report from The New York Times. The remaining cases are mixed.

Allergic rhinitis is caused by both indoor and outdoor allergens. Outdoor allergens usually cause seasonal allergic rhinitis while indoor allergens can cause year-round allergic rhinitis. If rhinitis lasts for a longer period of time, it is called chronic rhinitis. Chronic rhinitis is often caused by allergies, but can also be related to infections or structural problems.

Nasal allergies and inflammation are a chief cause for many sinus difficulties and their associated symptoms, it is beneficial to make an appointment with an allergist first. If your allergist detects sinus structural issues along with allergy symptoms, they will refer you to an ENT for further treatment.

If you’re interested in being tested for allergies or have questions about resources available to people with allergies, give us a call. Or, if you are looking for an allergist, we’d love to meet you. We can be reached at 212-729-1283 or send us an email at info@hudsonallergy.com.

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