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YOUR HEALTH: Freezing away allergy symptoms

Doctors can now freeze nasal nerves that can stop some of the allergic reactions people suffer.

NEW YORK CITY – Nasal congestion can be treated with over the counter medication, prescription drugs, or even surgery as a last resort.

But now, an FDA-approved therapy means patients can be treated in the doctor's office and avoid the unpleasant side effects and recovery time of an invasive treatment.

It's helped David Gorovoy.

He has had a tough time breathing through his nose for years.   It's especially hard on this medical resident who is often on duty or on call.

"Mainly I wasn't getting a great night sleep and I would snore too."

David tried medication but had no relief.

Until ear, nose and throat specialist Gregory Levitin offered David an in-office therapy called ClariFix.

"Basically he said he would shrink down some of the tissues in the nasal passage and that would help open them up," explained Dr. Levitin, Otolaryngologist/Head and Neck Surgery Director at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai Hospital.

Clarifix uses cryotherapy to freeze nerves at the back of the nose that are out of balance.

Once they are treated, the nerves no longer send the signal to drip or run.

"Instead of having to cut tissue, we're actually just applying a topical freezing to a nerve in the back of the nose."  - Dr.Gregory Levitin

The procedure takes up to 20 minutes compared to a nearly four-hour surgery.

"It takes about 15 minutes to make them numb and literally less than a minute and we've made a big difference," said Dr. Levitin.

"It's only the small area here at the end that actually touches the patient in the back of the nose, and we apply that to the back of the nose where the nerve exits out."

Three doctors in the Chicago area use the ClariFix therapy.

Dr. Levitin added that patients start feeling the results within a few days of treatment.

"Within 30 days, we're seeing a reduction of 50% or more in nearly every patient with less congestion, less runny nose breathing better and sleeping better."

For David, it's changed his life.

"Makes a huge difference being able to do your job more accurately you know that's priceless."

And the best part, it is a one and done procedure.

"It`s been a real game changer for a lot of patients," added Dr. Levitin.

Side effects include:

  • A cold feeling to the head often described as brain freeze during the treatment
  • A headache 20 minutes after the procedure
  • A little extra congestion for the first week after

But some see it as a short term impact for long term relief.

If this story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Jim Mertens at jim.mertens@wqad.com or Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at mthomas@ivanhoe.com.