Allergies are one of the most common complaints in the world. Allergies worldwide have been on the rise for nearly 50 years, and today nearly 50% of children have at least one allergy. It’s possible to be allergic to just about anything, although pollen, dander, medication, and food allergies are most common.
This is why allergists exist. Also known as immunologists, allergists are doctors who specialize in treating allergies and other immune problems. As allergies are an overreaction of the immune system, allergists must have a thorough understanding of how your body fights infection to treat the hypersensitivity that leads to allergies. Seeing an allergist may help you improve your health if you’re experiencing certain symptoms.
What Does an Allergist Do?
Allergists are qualified to diagnose and treat conditions like hay fever, food allergies and intolerances, eczema, psoriasis, asthma, and certain types of sinus and ear infections, among others.
To treat allergies effectively, the allergist must first determine what is triggering the reaction. An allergist consults with their patient and performs a series of tests in order to discover specific allergies, determine their severity, and figure out the best course of treatment. This will vary depending on the substance.
These tests help the allergist diagnose and treat their patients appropriately. Allergists can then prescribe treatment, which may be as simple as avoiding an allergen — or as complex as undergoing immunotherapy and carrying an epinephrine pen.
Reasons to See an Allergist
There are many types of allergies, and they don’t always make themselves obvious. There are a number of signs that you might benefit from visiting an allergist, including:
- OTC Allergy Medications Don’t Work
If you already know you have “hay fever” or other seasonal allergies, you may still benefit from visiting an allergist. If you find that common over-the-counter (OTC) allergy medications aren’t controlling your allergy symptoms effectively, then an allergist can prescribe stronger medications to help you mitigate symptoms.
- Frequent Unexplained Mouth and Throat Irritation
Food allergies do not always lead to dramatic symptoms like peanut or shellfish allergies often do. Instead, they may just lead to regular itching and soreness of the mouth, face, or throat. Minor food allergies or intolerances may be hard to diagnose without the help of an allergist who is trained to test you for food allergies safely.
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