Wednesday, August 29, 2012

When to see an allergist.

     Allergies are a big topic in my life. I have allergies. My wife and children have allergies. I have many family members and friends with allergies. As a pediatrician, I see many children with allergies of all sorts. My wife is a pediatric and adult allergist. A common question is when to see an allergist. The American Academy of Allergies Asthma and Immunology has a good website here with lots of excellent information, including when to see an allergist. Our website at has a handout about Allergic Rhinitis. My wife's practice is Midwest Allergy. Their website is here and has a list of conditions in which it is recommended to see an allergist. Here is the list:

  • Anyone who has reacted to a food
  • Anyone who has reacted to a stinging insect
  • Anyone with moderate to severe eczema
  • Anyone with persistent asthma (on a controller medication)
  • Any asthmatic who requires more that one course of systemic steroids per year or who requires more than one canister of albuterol per year
  • Anyone with rhinitis who fails pharmacotherapy or desires to minimize medication use
  • Anyone with chronic or recurrent sinusitis/otitis
  • Anyone with recurrent infections of any type

  • My list of reasons to refer includes:
    1. Allergic rhinitis symptoms that do not respond well to over-the-counter or prescription medications.
    2. Allergic reactions to foods.
    3. Allergic reactions to stinging insects (bees, wasps, hornets).
    4. Difficult to treat eczema that may be triggered by allergies.
    5. Persistent or difficult to control asthma.
    6. Recurrent or unusual infections that may be a sign of an immune problem.
    7. Recurrent sinusitis that does not respond to other treatments.
    8. Finally, if someone is struggling with allergy symptoms that may be from a pet (cat, dog, gerbils, hamster, etc.) and would consider having the pet live somewhere else, I would confirm the allergy with testing first.

    Certainly discuss with your primary care physician if you have concerns about the above issues.

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