If you suffer from allergies, finding the right allergy doctor can be a vital part of dealing with your condition.
Naturally, this depends on the type of allergy or allergies you suffer from. Over-the-counter medications can treat mild allergies such as hay fever. Other allergies require more specialized treatments. Some allergies, such as specific food allergies, can be life-threatening.
Can Allergies Be Cured?
The answer, in many cases, is yes. Injections can treat some allergies. For others, a program involving tiny doses of the allergen taken with food can desensitize the patient and remove the allergy. Typically allergies that receive treatment are those that may be life-threatening. Severe food allergies are often targets for desensitization treatment. For example, an allergy to wheat or nuts can be serious because so many foods contain these. Peanut oil is commonly used in cooking, but can be fatal to someone with a peanut allergy.
Seeking An Allergy Doctor
Even if your allergies are not life-threatening, it may be valuable to seek out a doctor who can make suggestions as to which medications or treatment regimens may work for you. It’s wise to begin with your physician, however. He or she may have recommendations for your particular allergies.
When seeking an allergy doctor, consider exactly what you are looking for.
- Do you want to completely remove your allergy? This process of allergy desensitization can be time-consuming and costly.
- If you have more than one allergy and you’re considering desensitization, are you hoping to have several allergies addressed, or just the most problematic of them?
- Can you live with your allergies if you learn to manage them? If over-the-counter medication can help, you may simply need advice on which medications are best for you.
Once you know what you want from your allergy doctor, or allergist, consult with your family doctor or others in the medical field. If you have a dietitian or nutritionist, they may know an allergist who can help, particularly with food allergies. Keep in mind that your family physician may recommend a particular medication or treatment, but typically he or she is not trained in properly diagnosing and treating allergies.
Bring Your Questions!
Before you meet with the allergist, assemble a list of questions. These could include:
- If an allergist has not formally diagnosed you, ask about other conditions which can masquerade as your allergy.
- What can you do to manage your allergies? In particular, are there non-medical ways of managing them?
- If your allergy doctor recommends medication, what are the side effects?
- What problems can your allergies lead to, if left untreated or unmanaged?
If you’re consulting an allergist on behalf of a child, be sure to find out what the severity of the child’s allergies can be, and what steps you need to take to prevent serious consequences. A wheat allergy, for example, may be easier for an adult to manage than a child, as an adult can be aware of the wide range of foods that may contain wheat. A child who shares snacks with friends faces a much greater risk.
You And Your Allergy Doctor
Remember, if you’re managing allergies, you may be seeing your allergy doctor for a long period of time. He or she may recommend a range of drugs or methods for managing your allergies. Getting your allergies under control may not be a quick process, so you want a doctor you can trust and work with over the long term.