allergy is the branch of medicine that studies and treats allergies , or overreaction of the immune system to foreign substances actually harmless, such as pollen .
What does the allergist do?
The allergist is the doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating allergic diseases. It is a specialist trained to be able to identify the factors that cause allergies and allow patients to manage symptoms , prevent their onset and, if possible, also to cure them definitively.
Allergy can occur anywhere on the body . As a rule, the areas most frequently affected by allergic symptoms are: the nose, eyes, lungs, paranasal sinuses, throat, skin and stomach wall. This happens because it is here that the immune cells that trigger the allergic response are concentrated as they react to the presence of the allergen.
What are the pathologies most treated by the allergist?
The following diseases are those to which the allergol focuses most frequently:
- l ‘ asthma
- eczema and urticaria (contact dermatitis and skin allergies).
- allergic rhinitis
What are the procedures most used by the allergist?
Usually the allergist conducts a thorough medical history and physical examination, but can also ask the patient to record the symptoms in a diary, paying attention to the factors that could trigger them. If a food allergy is suspected, the allergen may also ask to keep a food diary, and temporarily exclude a food from the diet.
The tests that an allergist can prescribe can be the following:
- allergy tests (e.g. skin tests)
- blood tests
- analysis to rule out other possible health problems.
The treatments that an allergist can prescribe can be the following:
- an exclusion diet
- taking medications
- the vaccine (immunotherapy)
The allergist also indicates how to prevent the onset of allergy symptoms .
When to ask for an appointment with the allergist?
When the symptoms of a possible allergy occur (for example skin rashes, or respiratory problems) it is good practice to turn to an allergen. It is also recommended to contact the allergist in at least one of the following cases:
- allergy is associated with sinusitis, nasal congestion or chronic breathing difficulties
- when fever or other allergy symptoms strike for several months in a year
- when taking antihistamines or over-the-counter drugs are not effective or trigger side effects
- when symptoms interfere with daily activities or reduce the quality of life
- when dealing with symptoms that lead to suspicion of severe asthma
In case of anaphylaxis it is better to call an ambulance.