Many people are diagnosed and treated for allergies by their primary care physicians. However, depending on the severity of your allergies, your primary care doctor may refer you to a doctor who specializes in treating allergies.
You can take steps to ensure you cover everything that's important to you during your appointment. Here's some information to help you get ready and know what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Ask if there are any pre-appointment restrictions when making your appointment. For example, if you're having allergy tests, your doctor will likely want you to stop taking allergy medications for several days before the test.
- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, as well as where you were and what you were doing when the symptoms started.
- Make a list of all the medications, vitamins or supplements you take, and bring that list with you to your appointment.
- Write down any questions you have for your doctor.
Preparing a list of questions helps you make the most of your time with your doctor. For a mold allergy, some questions you might want to ask include:
- What do you think is causing these symptoms?
- Are there tests available that can confirm a specific allergy? Do I need to prepare for these tests?
- How can I treat a mold allergy?
- What side effects can I expect from allergy medications?
- How can I get mold out of my home?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing?
- I have another health condition. How can I best manage these conditions together?
- Do you have brochures or other printed materials? What websites do you recommend?
What to expect from your doctor
To determine whether allergies or other possible causes are responsible for your symptoms, your doctor may ask you a number of questions, such as:
- Exactly what are your symptoms?
- What seems to trigger symptoms or make them worse?
- Are your symptoms worse during certain times of the year or certain times of the day?
- Do your symptoms flare up when you're in certain locations, such as outdoors or in your basement?
- What medications do you take, including herbal remedies?
- What other health problems do you have?
- Do other members of your family have allergies? What kinds?
- Are you exposed to mold, dust, fumes or chemicals at work?
- Do you know if you have mold in your home?
What you can do in the meantime
While you're waiting to see your doctor, there are numerous over-the-counter allergy medications that may ease your symptoms.
If you have visible mold in your home, it will help to have someone who's not allergic to mold clean the area using a solution of 1 ounce of bleach to 1 quart of water or a commercially available mold-cleaning product. If you have to clean up the mold yourself, be sure to wear long rubber gloves, safety goggles and a mask to limit your exposure to the mold.
Oct. 29, 2014
- Mold allergy overview. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. http://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/allergies/mold-allergy.aspx. Accessed Nov. 29, 2012.
- Mold allergy. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. http://www.aafa.org/display.cfm?id=8&sub=15&cont=58. Accessed Nov. 29, 2012.
- Basic facts: Molds in the environment. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://cdc.gov/mold/faqs.htm. Accessed Nov. 29, 2012.
- A brief guide to mold, moisture and your home. Environmental Protection Agency. http://www.epa.gov/mold/moldguide.html. Accessed Nov. 29, 2012.
- Atopic and allergic disorders. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merck.com/mmpe/print/sec13/ch165/ch165c.html. Accessed Nov. 29, 2012.
- Lalwani AK. Current Diagnosis & Treatment in Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery. 3rd ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=39. Accessed Nov. 29, 2012.
- Bope ET, et al. Conn's Current Therapy. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4377-0986-5..C2009-0-38984-9--TOP&isbn=978-1-4377-0986-5&about=true&uniqId=236797353-5. Accessed Nov. 20, 2012.
- Bozeman S, et al. Complications of allergic fungal sinusitis. The American Journal of Medicine. 2011;124:359.
- Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/home/lung_and_airway_disorders/allergic_and_autoimmune_diseases_of_the_lungs/allergic_bronchopulmonary_aspergillosis.html. Accessed Dec. 3, 2012.
- A brief guide to mold in the workplace. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. http://www.osha.gov/dts/shib/shib101003.html. Accessed Dec. 3, 2012.