What Kind of Doctor to See for Allergies
If you’re suffering from allergies, it’s time to see an allergist/immunologist, a physician who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of allergies. After completing medical school, all allergists in the United States must complete at least three years of residency in pediatrics or internal medicine, then complete two years of specialized training in allergy medicine and immunology.
When to See an Allergist
Think you have allergies? There’s only one way to know for sure and that’s by scheduling an appointment with an allergist. Here are some of symptoms you may be experiencing that could make seeing an allergist beneficial:
- You’re experiencing a runny or stuffy nose, cough, or watery eyes that affect your ability to work or sleep.
- You’re sneezing a lot.
- You have hives or rashes.
- You experience allergy symptoms several times a year
- Your asthma or allergies are affecting the quality of your life.
- You are taking asthma medications but are still having asthma attacks.
- You wheeze or cough a lot, especially at night or after exercise.
- You’re not getting enough relief from over-the-counter medications.
- You get a lot of sinus infections, headaches, or ear infections.
- You feel like you’re always getting sick with a cough or head congestion.
What Does an Allergist Do?
If you’ve decided that you need to see an allergist, here are some of the things you can expect your allergist to do during your appointment:
- Determine what, if any, allergies you may have. Only a doctor can confirm whether or not you have an allergy. Your symptoms may be due to something else, such as an infection. Knowing the cause of your symptoms ensures that you’ll get the correct treatment.
- Find your triggers. Knowing what triggers your allergic reactions enables you to take steps to avoid those things. An allergist will perform tests that will target what’s causing your allergies.
- Make a treatment plan. Once your allergies have been determined, your allergist will create a plan that includes what medicines to take, what you need to avoid because of your allergies, and what to do if you have a serious allergic reaction.
- Check that you have the right medicine. Your allergist will ask what, if any, over-the-counter medicines you’re taking and if they’re providing relief. If not, prescription medicines may be required to help with your symptoms.
- Control your symptoms. Your allergist will help you control symptoms like itchy eyes and runny nose. You’ll also be advised on how to avoid an allergic reaction before it starts.