If you have mild allergy symptoms a few months of the year that are managed by taking over-the-counter medications, then you may not need to see an allergy specialist. However, when your symptoms are so bad that they affect your quality of life or if they persist throughout the year, then it's time to visit an allergist so your allergies can be identified and treated properly. Here are some ways an allergy specialist can help you.
If you have allergy symptoms all year, it may not be possible for you to identify what triggers them. It could be the family cat you're around every day, or it could be due to a variety of allergens that fill the air at different times of the year. It's important to pinpoint the cause of your symptoms because this helps you avoid the things that bother you. Avoidance is an important part of managing your symptoms. Also, once your doctor knows what triggers your allergy symptoms, he or she is able to choose the most effective type of treatment whether it is prescription medication or immunotherapy.
Allergy Management Education
Another important function your allergy specialist offers is education about how to manage your symptoms. You may learn about using mattress enclosures, air purifiers, and air conditioning to make your living space more comfortable. You might learn how to avoid tracking allergens into your home and how to transform your bedroom into an allergy-free zone. Understanding how to control your symptoms is very important when the trigger is a family pet you have to co-exist with every day. It is equally important to learn how to deal with pollen and other outdoor allergens since you have to go outside every day. Making the right changes to your lifestyle could have a big impact on how well you manage your allergies.
One of the most important reasons to see an allergist is so you can receive treatment that keeps your symptoms under control. Your doctor may prescribe medication that suppresses your symptoms. Some medications are taken only when you have a flare up while others need to be taken daily to prevent symptoms from developing. Your allergist may also try immunotherapy or allergy shots. These are given as a series of shots that coax your body into developing a tolerance to the items that trigger your allergies. It's possible the shots will put an end to your allergy symptoms, but it's also possible you'll still need to take medication occasionally or even daily if your allergies are bad enough. Your allergist may also give you an epinephrine injector to use if you have life-threatening allergies to food or bee stings. That way, you can give yourself a shot immediately while you wait for the ambulance to take you to the emergency room of a nearby hospital.
Allergies can be difficult to manage and they can develop at any age of your life. Fortunately, an allergist can usually come up with an effective treatment plan although it may take a period of trial and error to get your symptoms fully under control. In addition to medical treatments, you'll probably have to make lifestyle changes to get the best results in the quickest amount of time. For more information on managing your allergies, make an appointment with a clinic like The Regional Allergy Asthma & Immunology Center, PC.