Preparing for your appointment

For symptoms that could be caused by an allergy, see your family doctor or general practitioner. You might be referred to a doctor who specializes in treating allergies (allergist).

What you can do

Ask if you should stop taking allergy medications before your appointment, and for how long. For example, antihistamines can affect the results of an allergy skin test.

Make a list of:

  • Your symptoms, including any that seem unrelated to allergies, and when they began
  • Your family's history of allergies and asthma, including specific types of allergies, if you know them
  • All medications, vitamins and other supplements you take, including doses
  • Questions to ask your doctor

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 treatment do you recommend?
  • I have these other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
  • What emergency symptoms should my friends and family be aware of?

Don't hesitate to ask other questions.

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask you questions, including:

  • 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 smoke, or are you exposed to secondhand smoke or other pollutants?
  • What treatments have you tried so far? Have they helped?
Aug. 07, 2017
References
  1. Allergy overview. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. http://aafa.org/display.cfm?id=9. Accessed May 28, 2017.
  2. Allergic reactions. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. http://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/library/at-a-glance/allergic-reactions.aspx. Accessed May 28, 2017.
  3. Seidman MD, et al. Clinical practice guideline: Allergic rhinitis. Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery. 2015;152:S1.
  4. Allergies. American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. http://acaai.org/allergies. Accessed May 28, 2017.
  5. Allergies and hay fever. American Academy of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery. http://www.entnet.org/content/allergies-and-hay-fever. Accessed May 28, 2017.
  6. Anaphylaxis. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. http://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/allergies/anaphylaxis. Accessed May 28, 2017.
  7. Types of allergies. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. http://www.aafa.org/page/types-of-allergies.aspx. Accessed May 28, 2017.
  8. Who has allergies? American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. http://acaai.org/allergies/who-has-allergies. Accessed May 28, 2017.
  9. What causes asthma? American Lung Association. http://www.lung.org/lung-health-and-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/asthma/asthma-symptoms-causes-risk-factors/what-causes-asthma.html. Accessed May 28, 2017.
  10. Allergic rhinitis, sinusitis and rhinosinusitis. American Academy of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery. http://www.entnet.org/content/allergic-rhinitis-sinusitis-and-rhinosinusitis. Accessed May 28, 2017.
  11. Is rinsing your sinuses with neti pots safe? U.S. Food and Drug Administration. https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm316375.htm. Accessed May 28, 2017.