Is it Time to Visit an Allergist?
Many people are no strangers to allergies, especially during certain months of the year when environmental pollutants are more common. In fact, according to Web MD, 55% of the United States population tests positive to at least one allergen. If this sounds familiar and you’ve had enough, making an appointment with an allergist could help.
The Medical Background of an Allergist
An allergist is a physician that possesses additional training related to diagnosing and treating allergies, asthma and disorders of the immune system. Before becoming an allergist, a person must go to college, then medical school. After that, he or she would complete a residency in the field of either pediatrics or internal medicine, and become board certified in either discipline. Finally, the person would receive further specialty training during a two-year fellowship and need to pass an examination to demonstrate competence in allergies and immunology.
What Does an Allergist Do?
People usually visit an allergist to either lessen existing symptoms or receive a new diagnosis about problems that haven’t yet been connected to allergies. Besides having knowledge to interpret the results of allergy tests, allergists can prescribe allergy shots and also help with the management of chronic diseases, like asthma. If you see an allergist, he or she will likely perform a detailed consultation about your living environment. You might get asked for details about whether you currently use an air purifier to reduce environmental allergens, and if you’re currently taking over-the-counter medications to seek relief.
Symptoms That Might Warrant Making An Appointment
Because of the steep cost of healthcare, many people delay getting guidance from a healthcare provider, preferring to suffer even when effective treatments exist. If your allergy symptoms are adversely affecting quality of life, so you can no longer regularly do things like get restful sleep, pay attention at work and school or engage in exercise, those are all strong signs that it’s time to recruit help from a professional. Also, these experts can assist you in reducing dependence on certain interventions, especially if they are causing uncomfortable side effects or causing you to feel addicted to the substances.
Possible Courses of Treatment
After diagnosing what you’re allergic to, an allergist might start simply by recommending that you avoid certain environments or items. This is a widely-prescribed solution for people who are sensitive to particles like pollen, or might be allergic to particular foods.
Furthermore, the allergist could suggest a course of prescription drugs or allergy shots. The latter option involves injections containing small amounts of the substance a person is allergic to. Over time, symptoms can become less prominent, allowing someone to be less dependent on former treatment methods, or stop using them altogether.
To answer the question posed in the title of this article, it’s worthwhile to evaluate how allergies affect your way of life, and whether the symptoms you experience make it harder to find enjoyment. Although there are plenty of over-the-counter products to try, an allergist could be your ally if you’ve already been proactive in pursuing self-treatment measures, but have found they are not sufficient. Take a step towards ending your misery now and make an appointment with a professional that could use his or her expertise to lend a helping hand.