Allergists specialize in diagnosing and recommending treatment for many common allergic diseases, including asthma, allergic rhinitis, and dermatitis. Allergies can take many different forms and can be triggered by hundreds of everyday substances, including dust, pollen, mold, chemicals, foods, medications, and much more. Plus, allergies can happen to anyone at any time regardless of gender, age, or preexisting health conditions.
Unsure whether you should seek the help of an allergist for the symptoms you’re experiencing? Here are some of the most common signs that point to allergies that an allergist could help to treat:
- You constantly have a head cold, runny nose, or cough.
- You experience frequent itchy, watery eyes or sneezing (hay fever).
- You have trouble catching your breath.
- You cough or wheeze during or after exercise.
- You have a persistent or recurrent itchy rash
- You have reactions immediately after eating particular foods
- You had a severe reaction to an insect sting
- You have an allergy to penicillin or other medications
- You have swelling episodes of the lips, tongue, throat, or other areas
- You have had anaphylaxis due to any cause
- Your allergies seriously affect your day-to-day life.
- Over-the-counter allergy medications don’t help.
If you relate to any of these descriptions or have been diagnosed with asthma and still experience symptoms despite taking medication, a visit to an experienced and highly trained allergist could help to pinpoint the exact allergens affecting you and how to improve your symptoms.
What can I expect during my allergist appointment?
Typically, your visit to the allergist will start with a comprehensive history and physical examination. This will be followed by an appointment for allergy testing if needed. This will allow your allergist to determine exactly what your allergies are, the symptoms they cause, and their severity. Once this information has been gained, your allergist will be able to educate you about allergy prevention and what strategies you can take to best avoid your allergens. It is also possible you may not be allergic to a particular food, drug, or environmental allergen, and an allergist can clarify this.
In some cases, prevention may not be possible, especially with allergies that are caused by pollen and other unavoidable environmental factors. In cases like these, an allergist will typically prescribe medication that will significantly reduce your symptoms with as few side effects as possible. Sometimes, allergists will even recommend immunotherapy treatments like allergy shots.