Preparing for your appointment

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 allergies and asthma, including specific types of allergies, if you know them.
  • List medications, vitamins and supplements you take.
  • Ask if you should stop taking 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:

  • 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?
Nov. 22, 2016
References
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  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 Dec. 30, 2015.
  3. Leung DYM, et al. Natural history of allergic diseases and asthma. In: Pediatric Allergy: Principles and Practice. 3rd ed. Elsevier; 2016. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Jan. 3, 2016.
  4. Simons FER. Anaphylaxis: Rapid recognition and treatment. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 4, 2016.
  5. Allergy treatments. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. http://www.aafa.org/page/allergy-treatments.aspx. Accessed Dec. 30, 2016.
  6. Is rinsing your sinuses safe? U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm316375.htm. Accessed Jan 3, 2016.
  7. Pichler WJ. Drug allergy: Classification and clinical features. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan 3, 2016.
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  9. Find a local support group. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. http://www.aafa.org/page/aafa-affiliated-asthma-allergy-support-groups.aspx. Accessed Dec. 30, 2015.
  10. Mold allergy. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. http://www.aafa.org/page/mold-allergy.aspx. Accessed Jan. 4, 2016.
  11. deShazo RD, et al. Allergic rhinitis: Clinical manifestations, epidemiology, and diagnosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 3, 2016.
  12. Burks W. Clinical manifestations of food allergy: An overview. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 3, 2016.
  13. What is a food allergy? Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America http://www.aafa.org/page/food-allergies.aspx. Accessed Jan. 3, 2016.
  14. Spergel JM. Role of allergy in atopic dermatitis (eczema). http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 3, 2016.
  15. Stinging insect allergy. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. http://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/allergies/stinging-insect-allergy.aspx. Accessed Jan. 3, 2016.
  16. Anaphylaxis. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
  17. https://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/anaphylaxis/Pages/default.aspx. Accessed Jan. 3, 2016.
  18. How does an allergic response work? National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. https://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/allergicdiseases/Pages/allergic-Response.aspx. Accessed Jan. 3, 2016.
  19. Food allergy diagnosis. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/foodAllergy/understanding/Pages/diagnosis.aspx. Accessed Jan. 3, 2016.
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