For those with certain reactions, allergies can be obvious. Everything from food reactions to pet allergies are fairly easy to identify. In those cases, sufferers will seek out a board certified allergist to help cope with the symptoms and get treatment. But for those with allergies that manifest in less obvious reactions or from inconspicuous allergens, it can be hard to know that an allergy even exists or that you should see an allergist.
Despite their prevalence, many Americans go undiagnosed, perhaps because they aren’t aware they even have allergies. Allergies effect a large portion of the population, with an estimated 50 million Americans suffering from nasal allergies, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Roughly 30 percent of adults and 40 percent of children are impacted, making allergies one of the leading causes of chronic illnesses. That leads to over $18 billion annually in costs.
For those who suffer from plant, mold and environment-related allergies, they can be hard to distinguish from cold and other symptoms. Those symptoms are not only annoying, but can have a negative impact on quality of life. Undiagnosed allergies can lead to frequent sneezing, wheezing or coughing and can eventually cause chronic illnesses like asthma and chronic infections.
So when should you see a board certified allergist?
- To identify your allergy triggers.
- If you experience cold symptoms for more than two weeks.
- If you wheeze and/or have shortness of breath.
- If you break out in unexplained rashes.
- If you have a persistent cough.
- If over the counter medications aren’t having a significant impact on your symptoms.
- If you experience more than three ear, throat, lung or sinus infections a year.
- If you experience hives.
- If an infant or child suffers from eczema
At an appointment with one of Allergy & Asthma Specialists’ board certified allergists, the doctor will review medical history, symptoms that have prompted the visit and lifestyle to understand the underlying cause. Allergists will then use skin testing, to determine your allergy triggers.
Once allergic disease is confirmed, the board certified allergist will prescribe a treatment plan and make suggestions for adapting and dealing with the underlying cause. This can be as simple as implementing a more effective cleaning method at home or a medicine regimen.
Once diagnosed, patients can return to living their lives, but more fully than before, no longer suffering from unexplained allergic reactions.