When to See an Allergist

| November 1, 2012

sneezing from allergies Allergies can affect anyone. The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology estimates that about 50 million Americans have asthma, hay fever or another allergy-related condition. Many people, though, may not be aware they have allergies.

A cough that won’t go away, shortness of breath and wheezing may all be signs that it’s time to pay a trip to your local allergist. Read on to learn more. Don’t forget, the search for relief starts with DexKnows allergists and immunologists.

What is an allergy?

The body has the defenses to protect itself against “invaders” like bacteria and viruses. The catch is that sometimes those defenses are put into action too aggressively or the body mistakes substances such as dust and pollen as being a danger. That overacting immune response can cause symptoms including itchy eyes, a runny nose and swelling, among others.

What is an allergist?

Allergists, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, are physicians who specializes in treating asthma and other allergic diseases. They are trained to spot contributing factors and help treat or prevent problems.

Allergists can test for allergies, help prevent them and prescribe medication or allergy shots, if they believe that’s what’s needed in your case.

When should you see an allergist?

There are various signs that you should see an allergist. Among them are:

  • A cough that won’t go away
  • An allergic reaction to food
  • An allergic reaction to medication
  • An allergic reaction to an insect sting
  • Allergy or asthma symptoms not controlled by over-the-counter medications, including antihistamines and decongestants
  • Frequent wheezing or coughing, especially at night or after you exercise
  • Frequent sinus, ear, throat or lung infections
  • Hives and other allergic rashes
  • An increase in symptoms after getting a new pet

What are some common allergy problems?

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology describes the following common problems:

  • Allergic rhinitis: Describes allergic reactions, including hay fever, that take place in the nose. Symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, itching of nose, eyes or the roof of the mouth.
  • Asthma: Occurs when airway muscle spasms block the flow of air to the lungs or when linings of bronchial tubes become inflamed. It can cause excess mucus that blocks the airways. Symptoms include frequent coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest tightness, especially at night or after exercising.
  • Food allergy: Symptoms include swelling, hives, eczema, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramping and stomach ache.
  • Skin allergy: Can include eczema, a red, dry, itchy rash, and hives, which are red, itchy, swollen areas on the skin. Causes can include insect stings, medicines, foods, animals and chemicals. Emotional stress can make skin allergies worse.

Questions to ask an allergists

The website MedicineNet.com suggests making a list of questions to ask an allergist. Among the questions to ask are:

  • What are my options for treatment?
  • Would allergy shots might help me?
  • How will my allergies affect me?
  • How can I allergy-proof my home?
  • Do I have to get rid of my pet?
  • Are there over-the-counter medicines that can help?
  • What steps can I take on my own?

Keep these questions in mind if you visit an allergist, and don’t forget to start your search at DexKnows allergists and immunologists.

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Category: Evergreen, Health & Fitness

About the Author ()

Central Ohio journalist with 15 years experience at daily newspapers. Freelance writer and amateur photographer. Storytellers are my heroes, poets my idols and photographers my looking glass.