If you're experiencing symptoms that may be related to an allergy, see your family doctor or general practitioner. Here's some information to help you prepare for your appointment.
What you can do
- Write down your symptoms, including any that may seem unrelated to allergies.
- Write down your family's history of allergy and asthma, including specific types of allergies, if you know them.
- List medications, vitamins and supplements you take.
- Ask if you should stop any medications before your appointment. For example, antihistamines can affect the results of an allergy skin test.
Some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What is the most likely cause of my signs and symptoms?
- Are there other possible causes?
- Will I need allergy tests?
- Should I see an allergy specialist?
- What is the best treatment?
- I have these other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
- What changes can I make at home to reduce my symptoms?
- Do I need to follow restrictions?
- What symptoms should prompt me to call your office?
- What emergency symptoms should my friends and family be aware of?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing?
- Are there brochures or other printed material I can take? What websites do you recommend?
Don't hesitate to ask other questions.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you questions, including:
Aug. 14, 2014
- What are your symptoms?
- When did your symptoms begin?
- Have you recently had a cold or other respiratory infection?
- Are your symptoms worse at certain times of the day?
- Does anything seem to improve or worsen your symptoms?
- Are your symptoms worse in certain areas of your house or at work?
- Do you have pets, and do they go into bedrooms?
- Is there dampness or water damage in your home or workplace?
- Do you have a family history of allergies or asthma?
- Do you smoke, or are you exposed to secondhand smoke or other pollutants?
- What treatments have you tried so far? Have they helped?
- Do you have other health problems?
- What medications, including herbal remedies, do you take?
- Allergy overview. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. http://aafa.org/display.cfm?id=9. Accessed May 19, 2014.
- Allergies. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. http://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/allergies.aspx. Accessed May 19, 2014.
- Allergic reactions: Tips to remember. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. http://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/library/at-a-glance/allergic-reactions.aspx. Accessed May 19, 2014.
- Anaphylaxis: Tips to remember. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. http://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/library/allergy-library/anaphylaxis.aspx. Accessed May 19, 2014.
- Indoor air quality and allergies. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. http://www.aafa.org/print.cfm?id=9&sub=18&cont=233. Accessed May 19, 2014.
- Is rinsing your sinuses safe? U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm316375.htm. Accessed May 19, 2014.
- Pichler WJ. Drug allergy: Classification and clinical features. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 20, 2014.
- Food allergies. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. http://www.aafa.org/display.cfm?id=9&sub=20&cont=286. Accessed May 19, 2014.
- Hay WW, et al. Current Diagnosis & Treatment: Pediatrics. 21st ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=14. Accessed May 20, 2014.
- Creticos PS. Sublingual therapy for allergic rhinitis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 20, 2014.