If you are scheduled for your first visit with an allergist, preparing ahead of time can help you make the most out of the visit. During the first visit, the doctor may run some tests, and certain medication you are taking may interfere with the results. For guidance, call the clinic and ask what medications you should stop taking to prepare for your visit. Now, let’s talk about what happens during your first visit to an allergist to help you better prepare for it.
The first thing that an allergist does is review your medical history. Here, you are asked to explain in detail your history of illnesses, diseases, and surgeries. Also included in the review is your family history — do any of your family members and relatives have allergies? If so, what are their triggers and symptoms?
If you are referred to the allergist by your primary care doctor, ask that your medical records be shared with the allergist. If not, bring your medical records with you to the appointment. Also, bring all the medications you are currently taking.
This is also the time to talk about what triggers your allergies and what symptoms you have when exposed to them. For a more detailed account, you may want to keep an allergy diary and keep a record of potential food and environmental triggers, when they occur, how long symptoms lasted, and any treatment you employ.
If you are unsure of what causes your allergies, keep a record of when and where you experience symptoms. Note the locations you are at, the foods you eat, and any products you use prior to the allergy symptoms kicking in. This information will help your doctor identify possible causes.
Physical Exam and Allergy Testing
Combined with a review of your medical history is a physical exam. If you have skin allergies, the allergist will check the marks on your skin. Allergies with or without current physical symptoms will need to be tested.
To identify food allergies, the allergist will test for potential food allergies based on the information you provided. The allergist may run two different types of tests, the most commonly used being the skin prick test.
During the skin prick test, the doctor will prick the skin on your back or forearm, placing different proteins that are found in allergens. If you are allergic to the substance, the skin will react. Hives will develop in as little as 15 minutes. The skin prick test can identify food and environmental allergens. The other type of allergy test is a blood test, where the doctor takes a sample of your blood and sends it to the laboratory to check for the presence of antibodies.
Once the allergist has all the information to make a diagnosis, they will then recommend treatment. Treatment plans for allergies usually involve allergy avoidance, non-medical therapies, medication, and immunotherapy.
If you have a food allergy, not only will you be prescribed medication, the doctor will also teach you how to manage it. Severe food allergies can be fatal. Treatment usually involves avoidance of triggers and prescribing an EpiPen, which you can use to control symptoms during an anaphylactic shock incident.
At your first visit to an allergist, there will be an onslaught of information. Bring a notebook with you to write down the information you receive. This is an excellent opportunity to ask questions you may have about your allergies, symptoms, and how to better manage them.
Allergist in Georgetown, TX
If you suffer from allergies, finding out what your triggers are can make a world of difference. At Georgetown ENT, our allergy specialist, Dr. Scott W. Franklin, can diagnose and treat your condition and provide lasting relief for your symptoms. To make an appointment call our clinic at (512) 869-0604 or use our online request form.