The Interrelation of Allergy and Otolaryngology
Allergy, defined by Pirquet1 as altered reactivity of cells and tissues, is perhaps the most popular term used to define a large group of unpleasant symptoms affecting about 10 per cent of our population. The word atopy, meaning “strange disease,” used by Coca and Cooke2 to describe these symptoms, is very appropriate, for a strange disease it surely is. The term “vasomotor rhinitis” hardly describes the disease, and if cases thus designated are carefully and properly studied, some specific cause for the symptoms can usually be discovered. Although much that has been said about allergy is purely theoretical, many facts, based on practical observations and experience, are known. I shall not offer any discussion of the theories regarding this disease, but shall confine myself to a consideration of these known facts, especially as they pertain to the joint field of the internist and the otolaryngologist. Too often skin tests alone are relied on for a diagnosis and as an index to treatment, without sufficient consideration of the role of the sinuses in the production of the symptoms and of their relation to the treatment.
For this reason, although allergy may affect the cells of any part of the body and produce symptoms referable thereto, the symptoms of chief concern in this paper are those that involve the nose, the sinuses and the tracheobronchial tree.
There is a marked tendency for the disease to occur in a child whose mother and father are both allergic; in such a case the symptoms. . .