What is an allergist, and when might you need to see one? That’s exactly what we’re here to answer today.
What is an allergist?
An allergist is a doctor who specializes in allergy treatment and immunology. Allergic reactions occur when the immune system overreacts to a stimulus that is usually harmless. These allergic reactions can range from mild to severe. No matter how mild or severe your allergies are, it is recommended that you see an allergist if you believe that you suffer from allergies.
What does an allergist treat?
An allergist treats a variety of conditions within allergies and immunology. Here are a few common conditions an allergist can treat:
Asthma is a condition that causes the airways to narrow, resulting in difficulty breathing. Asthma can be triggered by allergies, called allergic asthma. While not all people who suffer from asthma have allergic asthma, it is estimated that approximately 60 percent of those with asthma have this type of asthma.
- Food Allergies
Food allergies are a common type of allergy. Common triggers of food allergies include peanuts, soy, gluten (wheat), dairy (milk), shellfish, and tree nuts. Reactions to food allergies can range from mild to severe, with the most severe being anaphylactic shock.
It is important to know how to manage your allergies, even if they are mild. In most cases with food allergies, simple avoidance is a good form of allergy management. Be sure to talk to your allergist about the best way to manage your food allergies so you can enjoy life to the fullest.
- Skin Allergies
Among skin allergies, hives and eczema are two of the most common conditions. Hives are raised, itchy bumps on the skin, while eczema is characterized by dry, itchy patches on the skin. Common triggers for skin allergies include fragrances, chemicals, insect bites, medications, stress, and certain fabrics. People who suffer from asthma or allergic rhinitis are more likely to also experience skin allergies.
- Allergic Rhinitis
Allergic rhinitis, more commonly known as hay fever, is a type of allergic reaction with symptoms that affect the nose. Common symptoms include congestion, sneezing, and runny nose. Allergic rhinitis can be seasonal or perennial (occurring year-round). The most common trigger for allergic rhinitis is pollen from trees, grasses, or weeds.
- Chronic Sinusitis
Sinusitis is a condition in which the sinus passages become inflamed. Sinusitis may develop after an allergic reaction, a cold, or an infection. For the most part, the symptoms of sinusitis are similar to those of allergic rhinitis: congestion and nasal discharge. However, sinusitis can also cause pain and tenderness in the face, which is a result of built-up pressure in the sinuses.
- Insect Bites
Some people are allergic to insect bites. The five most common insect bite allergies are bees, wasps, hornets, yellow jackets, and fire ants. As with all allergies, reactions to insect bites can range from mild to severe.
It is important to note, however, that allergies to insect bites can be life threatening. Venom from the insect bite can cause anaphylaxis, in which the airways narrow and blood pressure drops, which can be fatal. If you have a severe insect bite allergy, you may need to carry an epinephrine auto-injector in case of anaphylactic reactions.
Do you need to see an allergist?
If you believe that you suffer from allergies—whether they are mild or severe—it is important to see an allergist. Your allergist can assist you with the diagnosis, treatment, and management of your allergies. To learn more about what an allergist treats and to schedule your appointment, we welcome you to contact us today at West River ENT & Allergy.