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Allergic Reaction (cont.)

What Type of Doctors Treat Allergies?

Many different kinds of doctors treat allergies. One may initially see a primary care provider (PCP), including a general or family practitioner or their child's pediatrician, if allergies are suspected or mild. In severe cases such as anaphylactic reactions, one may see an emergency medicine specialist in an emergency department.

To manage allergies over the long term, many people see an allergist-immunologist, a physician who specializes in treatment of allergies. One may also see an otolaryngologist (also called an ear, nose, and throat specialist, or ENT) to manage sinus problems. If allergies result in itchy skin or other skin reactions, the patient may see a dermatologist.

Is Follow-up Needed After an Allergic Reaction?

Allergic reactions are sometimes unpredictable.

  • Always watch for a return of symptoms as medications wear off or exposure to an allergen trigger continues.
  • Return of symptoms may be sudden and severe.
  • Anticipate a possible return of the reaction and a need to return to the doctor's office or emergency department.

Use all medications only as instructed or as prescribed.

  • Therapy to suppress an allergic reaction may involve long-acting antihistamines and other anti-allergy medications in combination to suppress the body's immune response.
  • Severe cases may require a course of steroid treatment lasting as long as four weeks.

Is It Possible to Prevent Allergic Reactions?

Most people learn to recognize their allergy triggers; they also learn how to avoid them.

An allergy specialist (allergist) may be able to help identify someone's triggers. Several different types of allergy tests are used to identify triggers.

  • Skin testing is the most widely used and the most helpful. There are several different methods, but all involve exposing the skin to small amounts of various substances and observing the reactions over time.
  • Blood tests (radioallergosorbent test or RAST) generally identify IgE antibodies to specific antigens.
  • Other tests involve eliminating certain allergens from the environment and then reintroducing them to see if a reaction occurs.

People with a history of serious or anaphylactic reactions may be prescribed an auto-injector, sometimes called a bee-sting kit. This contains a premeasured dose of epinephrine (EpiPen and Auvi-Q are some brand names). They carry this with them and inject themselves with medication immediately if they are exposed to a substance that causes them to have a severe allergic reaction.

There is some evidence that breastfed infants are less likely to have allergies than bottle-fed infants.

Last Reviewed 9/11/2017

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