Allergy sufferers have new nonsurgical treatment option

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NEW YORK (CBS) Patients who suffer from severe allergies now have another option that could dramatically alleviate their chronic symptoms, and it doesn't involve surgery.

"It just started progressively getting worse," said Melody Stazzone, who recently arrived at a breaking point -- her year-round allergies were so severe everyday life was getting unbearable. "I wouldn't even be here. I couldn't even go by the park, it was just too much. It was just a constant barrage of just being stuffed up with the sore throat and the nasal drip, not being able to breath, massive headaches."

She exhausted nearly every over-the-counter prescription allergy medication, so Dr. Gregory Levitin at New York Eye and Ear Infirmary at Mount Sinai suggested a minimally invasive cryotherapy called Clarifix. "I think this has been a real game-changer for a lot of patients," Levitin said.

He demonstrated the procedure on another patient right in his office. It targets and freezes the nerves in the nose. By interrupting the signal to the nerves, they no longer tell the nose to drip, run and swell.

"I consider this a non-surgical alternative," Levitin said. "We give local anesthesia... We can then apply the Clarifix device to nose. Patients shouldn't feel any pain and it's very effective in almost every patient we treat."

Dr. Levitin says the treatment is ideal for allergy sufferers who experience year-round symptoms like Stazzone.

"I have complete clarity now," Stazzone said. She said she was back to doing the things she loved just a few months after the treatment. "I'm in the parks all the time, riding my bike, walking around."

Reporter Kenneth Craig: It really sounds like it was life changing for you?
Melody Stazzone: It absolutely was.

She says she no longer takes daily medication and finally feels like she has her life back.