Do you need an Allergist?

The answer to that question is a definite yes, if you meet any of the following criteria:

  1. If you have frequent symptoms of nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes and tearing that do not respond readily to OTC (over the counter) antihistamines or allergy nose sprays, or if you require these medications frequently, you would benefit from identifying the airborne allergens that you are sensitive to so as to be able to avoid exposure to them, anticipate them if they are seasonal, and preempt them.
  2. Likewise if you experience wheezing, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, and coughing, especially if those symptoms are seasonal, but even if they occur year-round, identifying the triggers is essential in the management of asthma, because most asthma is caused by allergies.
  3. If you experience generalized itching, hives, difficulty breathing, changes in your voice, a sensation of tightness in the throat, projectile vomiting, faintness, or dizziness, after eating, you may have an anaphylactic sensitivity to a particular food. Identifying the food responsible for your symptoms may be life saving. In the meantime, you need to carry an Epipen.
  4. If you have the same symptoms as above following an insect sting, e.g. a wasp or fire ant, you should immediately schedule an appointment with an allergist and should carry an Epipen until you see him.
  5. If you have similar symptoms after taking a medication, even one that you have taken for a long time, you should consult with an allergist.
  6. If you have recurrent hives without any detectable precipitating cause, it could be caused by an allergy, but it more often represents a physical urticaria caused by heat, cold, or exercise. Alternatively, this could represent an autoimmune urticaria where you are reacting against yourself. Your allergist is best equipped to diagnose a specific cause.
  7. “Eczema” or eczematous dermatitis is usually cared for by a dermatologist but is often due to food allergy. Food avoidance diets that are not guided by skin testing to foods is time consuming and often inconclusive. Your allergist is best equipped to diagnose a food allergy.
  8. If you have recurrent infection, whether we are talking about respiratory, skin, or systemic infections, your allergist-immunologist is most suited to diagnose the cause of your problem.
  9. If you have had a persistent cough for over 6 weeks despite treatment, a cause is usually detectable but requires an evaluation for chronic sinusitis, cough-variant asthma, and reflux and aspiration. Your allergist is best suited to diagnose a specific cause


I cannot count the patients who have had complete relief of the above symptoms and have been able to lead pretty normal lives following effective treatment for them including, whenever necessary, “allergy shots”. Overall, I would say one patient in ten requires this form of therapy.

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