When to See an Allergist

If you think you have allergies, think about seeing a doctor who can tell you whether you do or not. An allergist is an MD who specializes in treating allergic conditions. An allergist can tell you what you’re allergic to and how to avoid your triggers.

You may want to make an appointment if:

  • You have symptoms such as a runny or stuffy nose, cough, or watery eyes that last for more than three months and make it hard for you to work or sleep.
  • You’ve tried over-the-counter drugs and still need more relief.
  • You get a lot of sinus infections, headaches, stuffy nose, or ear infections.
  • You snore or have trouble staying asleep.
  • You have other health problems such as heart disease, thyroid disease, diabetes, glaucoma, high blood pressure, enlarged prostate, liver disease, or kidney disease. If you do, it may not be safe to treat allergies on your own with over-the-counter drugs. Talk to your doctor before you take them.

Children and older people with allergies should always see a doctor before treatment starts.


What Will an Allergist Do?

Confirm you have allergies. Only a doctor can tell you for sure whether you have an allergy. You may have something else, such as an infection. When you know what you have, you can get the right treatment.

Find your triggers. If you know what you’re allergic to and what things trigger a reaction, you can take steps to avoid those things. An allergist will give you tests to help you identify specifically what triggers your allergies

Make a treatment plan. A treatment plan will help you know what you need to do. It should include what kind of medicine to take and when to take it, what things you need to avoid because of your allergies, and how to be ready for and what to do if you have a serious allergic reaction.

Check that you have the right medicine. Over-the-counter drugs can often help with allergies. Some people, though, also need prescription medicine to handle the symptoms. Your doctor can advise you about your medicines and make sure you have the prescriptions you need.

Control your symptoms. Your doctor can help you tame your runny nose and itchy eyes and even stop an allergic reaction before it starts.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Sabrina Felson, MD on June 30, 2019



American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology: "Allergy Treatment." 

American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology: "When Should I See an Allergist?"

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America: "Over-the-Counter Medications."

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