Who needs to see an Allergist?

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Allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, has a huge impact on individual sufferers and society as a whole. It is the 5th most common chronic disease in the U.S., and Americans pay $3.5 billion annually for allergy care and miss 3.5 million work days every year because of allergies. Allergy sufferers’ quality-of-life scores are generally on par with other chronic illnesses like major depression and rheumatoid arthritis.

Despite these facts, most allergy sufferers do not require evaluation by an Allergist. If allergy symptoms are limited to a few weeks out of the year and are easily controlled by simple medications, then that is generally the best course of action. Still, there are numerous indications for visiting an allergist:
  1. Symptoms are uncontrolled by medications. This is the most common reason we see patients.
  2. Complications from allergies. There are numerous complications from allergies. Among them are ear infections, sinus infections, asthma, cough, sleep disturbance, and headaches to name a few. These all warrant allergy evaluation.
  3. Symptoms that require year round medication. Avoidance and immunotherapy (allergy shots) will allow patients to come off most medications.
  4. Triggers that are unavoidable, such as cats and dogs in the home or numerous outdoor allergies in a person who is frequently outdoors.
  5. The chance for a cure. Allergy problems tend to persist for years and immunotherapy has been proven to provide long term symptom relief even after the shots have been stopped.
  6. Complications/dislike of medications. Avoidance and immunotherapy can control allergies without medications.

So, if any of the above statements sound like you, take heart. Allergies do not have to run your life. See your local allergist, get tested, and take control of your allergies.

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