Allergies affect us all, from outdoor allergens to reactions from food and drink. Chances are, someone you know is suffering from the adverse effects caused by allergens. Fortunately, there are many treatments and preventative measures you can do to alleviate the effects of allergies. Doctors who specialize in treating allergies are called allergists, while immunologists focus on the immunization of allergies. Allergist and immunologist are generally synonymous.
Is an allergist a doctor?
An allergist or immunologist is a physician specifically trained to diagnose, treat and manage asthma, allergies and immunological disorders.
Allergists often focus specifically on diagnosing and treating patients with allergies and help people treat or prevent their allergy problems. Immunologists concentrate more on medicinal research and help treat patients with immune system problems.
When should I see an allergist?
It is suggested to see an allergist if your allergies cause symptoms such as sinus infections, nasal congestion, difficulty breathing or it you experience hay fever or other allergy symptoms several months out of the year.
When an allergic trigger is suspected, it is not always easily identifiable. In this case, a referral to an allergy specialist is warranted. Likewise, if the avoidance of a trigger does not lead to a resolution or if the patient does not respond well to antihistamines, then referral to an allergist or dermatologist is also warranted.
Allergies can improve over time while on the immunotherapy, so if you are experiencing prolonged symptoms of allergies, it is recommended to seek the medical attention of an allergist.
How long does an allergy test take?
A positive patch test result will look like an abrasion or rash, known as dermatitis. These patches will be itchy and may require treatment with topical steroids. Occasionally, patch test reactions persist for several weeks.
Patch tests take more time than a prick test, and two visits to your doctor. You will be required to leave the patches on for about 48 hours in the case that you have a delayed reaction to the allergen.
However you choose to test, you normally need to wait at least 24 hours to see the side effects of a patch test – and in some cases, it’ll be 48 hours. After the allocated period of time, you’ll need to check for any signs of redness, itchiness or swelling.
During that time, your doctor will advise you to avoid getting moisture on the patches. This includes showering and strenuous exercises that would cause heavy sweating. After you go back to the doctor’s office, they will remove the patches and perform a close inspection on the areas in question to see if you’ve had a reaction.
Patch testing is typically performed to determine what might be causing issues like contact dermatitis, which is an allergic skin reaction with an itchy, inflamed rash, or persistently dry, irritated, rash-ridden skin, known as eczema. These reactions are slower to develop than reaction to pollen or dust mites, and will require the full 48 hour period to determine any reactions.
If you or someone you know are experiencing symptoms of allergies or are unsure of the cause of your reactions, please contact our office for more information and to get in touch with an Allergist in the South Miami, FL area. To book an appointment with Piniella Asthma and Allergy call us at (305) 515-5922 or visit us online at www.pa2allergy.com. We are located at 6705 SW 57th Ave, Ste 520 South Miami, FL 33143.