Allergies

Allergies

Diagnosing an allergy is more complicated than administering a skin prick test or taking a blood sample and sending patients away with a prescription slip. There are many factors involved in an accurate diagnosis and an effective treatment plan.

Anywhere from 40 million to 50 million Americans have allergies or asthma. These diseases are so common that it might seem like the diagnosis and treatment are straightforward and that any doctor should be able to administer the most effective therapies.

This specialized training allows allergists to expertly:

  • Perform allergy testing
  • Identify the source of your suffering
  • Accurately diagnose your condition
  • Treat more than just your symptoms
  • Develop a personalized plan that eliminates your symptoms
  • Provide you with the most cost-effective care that produces the best results

Two key steps in the process of allergy diagnosis are the medical history and allergy test selection. Allergists use their skills in these areas to help more patients feel well, stay active during the day, and rest at night. And that’s nothing to sneeze at.

Emergency Treatment

Severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) need to be treated with a medicine called epinephrine, which can be life saving when given right away. If you use epinephrine, call 911 and go straight to the hospital. 

The best way to reduce symptoms is to avoid what causes your allergies. This is especially important for food and drug allergies.

There are several types of medications to prevent and treat allergies. Which medicine your doctor recommends depends on the type and severity of your symptoms, your age, and overall health.

Illnesses that are caused by allergies (such as asthma, hay fever, and eczema) may need other treatments.

Medications that can be used to treat allergies include:

Expectations (Prognosis)

Most allergies can be easily treated with medication.

Some children may outgrow an allergy, especially food allergies. However, once a substance has triggered an allergic reaction, it usually continues to affect the person.

Allergy shots are most effective when used to treat people with hay fever symptoms and severe insect sting allergies. They are not used to treat food allergies because of the danger of a severe reaction.

Allergy shots may need years of treatment, but they work in most cases. However, they may cause uncomfortable side effects (such as hives and rash) and dangerous outcomes (such as anaphylaxis).