The first thing your doctor will do is talk to you. He will examine you and ask questions about your symptoms and your family’s history of allergies, such as:
What kinds of symptoms do you have?
How long have you had them?
When symptoms happen, how long do they last?
Do your symptoms come and go throughout the year, or do they last year-round?
Do your symptoms happen when you are outdoors, or indoors -- like when you clean your house?
Do they get worse when you are around pets? Do you have any pets?
Do you smoke? Does anyone in your family smoke?
Do your symptoms keep you from doing things, or from sleeping at night?
What makes your symptoms better? What types of treatments have you tried? What allergy drugs are you taking now? Do they help?
What other medications are you taking, including prescription and over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, and herbal supplements?
What kind of heating system do you have? Do you have central air conditioning?
Do you have any other health conditions, such as asthma or high blood pressure?
Do you have problems with your sense of smell or taste?
Do you get better on the weekend and worse when you go back to work?
Your doctor may suggest that you see a board-certified allergist who specializes in diagnosing and treating allergies, or he may recommend medication. If an allergist is recommended, he may do allergy testing to find out exactly what you’re allergic to, so together you can create the right treatment plan.
By Dr. Amy Wechsler
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