Sometimes, you may go to the doctor if you are aware of what causes an allergy, like if you feel stuffed up when you pet a cat, or if you get hives after a bee sting. In other cases, you may be suffering from allergy symptoms without being aware of what causes the allergy. Even if you have a few guesses, it’s still important to see an allergist to look at your options, rule out any false positives, and create a treatment plan. Here are some of the ways that an allergist can benefit you and your allergy treatment.
Assessing Medical and Personal History
Your allergist will start by asking you some thorough questions in order to get a complete understanding of your symptoms and the reasons why they may be happening. You should make detailed notes and or create a calendar of when and where you experience symptoms, and then take them with you so that you can show any patterns you notice. You’ll also be asked about your medical history, family history, and factors like where you live, your daily habits, and your diet. Being as thorough and detailed as possible about your reactions and factors that you think may be important can be especially helpful in determining what may be causing your allergies if you have any.
When your allergist has reason to believe that you suffer from an allergy, the next step may be a physical analysis of your head region and skin. They may also assess your lungs and breathing functions to look for any deficiencies, as well as take an xray of the sinuses or airways to check for problems. These may be unrelated to allergies and can rule out any symptoms you may be experiencing so that your further testing is as accurate as possible. With further testing, it’s important to establish a baseline that won’t skew results or cause false positives or negatives. This step can also be important in determining which type of allergy testing would benefit you best.
This can sometimes be a separate step, depending on what type of allergy test will be performed. Two types of testing exist– skin or blood testing– and are used for different purposes. With skin testing, some preliminary steps might be taken to determine whether your skin will accurately display a reaction or if it’s too sensitive for a skin test. If your allergist determines a skin test will be best, then certain allergens are exposed to the skin in different ways so that the reaction can be observed. For blood testing, however, only a simple blood sample is taken to be sent to a lab.
After all of these steps, your allergist can properly assess the information and determine whether you have an allergy or something else. It’s always important to see an allergist because they can rule out outside factors and provide the best environment for an accurate test and results. If you believe you would benefit from an appointment with our allergists and ENT specialists, contact our Tuscaloosa office by calling or filling out our online form.