How an Allergist Can Help You

You take your car to a qualified mechanic when you need maintenance or repairs, don't you? But do you also seek out the same excellent level of care when it comes to your health?  If you're coping with allergy symptoms, it's important to rely on the expertise of an allergist who's specifically trained in diagnosing and treating conditions that affect the immune system.

It's easy to pinpoint when you're suffering from allergies, as symptoms such as runny nose, sneezing, congestion, itchy eyes, nose, throat, and wheezing make you miserable. But determining the exact cause of the problem can be much more challenging.

While your primary care doctor can prescribe allergy medications to address basic allergy symptoms, visiting an allergy specialist can help you get to the root of the problem and determine what to do about it. This is because an allergist will have the tools to perform a variety of tests to narrow in on the exact causes of your misery and to use this information to develop an effective treatment plan.

What to Expect from an Allergist

When you go for a visit, the doctor will take your personal medical history, perform a physical exam and allergy tests to help identify your triggers and determine a comprehensive treatment strategy.

For allergies that don't respond well to allergy control medications, your allergist may suggest that you undergo immunization therapy to help desensitize you to your triggers. Many people choose to undergo these injections right in the allergist's office, since the staff has the skill and expertise to respond in case you have any side effects.

How to Find an Allergy Specialist

Your primary care physician can provide you with a referral to a qualified allergist or allergy specialist in your area. You can also visit the website of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) for a searchable directory of board-certified allergists. Just check with your insurance company first to be sure to choose a specialist who participates in your health plan.

Signs You Need an Allergist

If you're not sure you need to see an allergist, the AAAAI suggests some criteria that can help determine your level of need:

  • Do you have severe allergy symptoms that reoccur often?
  • Do they lower your quality of life or keep you from your regular activities?
  • Do these symptoms co-exist with other ongoing health issues, such as asthma, sinusitis, or polyps?
  • Have you found allergy medications to be ineffective, or have you had negative effects from them?

If the answer is yes to any of these questions, see an allergist so you can get your symptoms under control.




"Tips to Remember: Feel Better. Live Better. See an Allergist/Immunologist." American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI)., n.d. Web. 21 March 2011.

"How the Allergist/Immunologist Can Help: Consultation and Referral Guidelines Citing the Evidence." American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI)., n.d. Web. 21 March 2011.

"Tips to Remember: Allergy Shots." American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI)., n.d. Web. 21 March 2011.