Visiting an immunologist: All you need to know

by Grace
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Also known as an allergist, an immunologist treats immune system disorders, including allergies and asthma. More often than not, people need to see an immunologist for seasonal allergies, also called allergic rhinitis. You can check online for silver spring immunology clinics to schedule an appointment. Here are some things to know before you step in for a checkup. 

What does an immunologist treat?

Immunologists treat immune-related conditions, such as – 

  • Allergic rhinitis: A seasonal allergy that causes inflammation of the nose/airways. 
  • Anaphylaxis: A potentially life-threatening allergic reaction to a substance, which may cause low blood pressure and other severe symptoms
  • Allergic conjunctivitis: Inflammation of the eyes because of an allergy. 
  • Asthma: A chronic condition that causes inflammation of airways and excess production of mucus production. 
  • Urticaria: Also called hives, the condition triggers itchy welts on the skin that are often red in color after exposure to an allergen. 

The first visit

When you visit an immunologist for the first time, they will review your medical history and take a look at the current symptoms. They will also ask about the medications you take, whether you were treated for allergies and similar symptoms in the past, and check your diet schedule. They will also figure out whether you were exposed to environmental toxins. Expect to answer a lot of questions during the visit. 

How is an immune condition diagnosed?

Doctors and allergists rely on a wide range of tests to determine whether a patient has an immune condition or an allergy. If you have an allergic skin reaction, the immunologist may do a patch test by exposing the skin to the potential allergen in a controlled manner. They may also do skin prick tests to determine if you have an allergy. It is also common for doctors to order antibody tests to find possible immunodeficiency conditions and allergies. 

Things to note

If you have symptoms of an allergy, check with a doctor immediately. Remember that allergies need treatment and do not just go away. More often than not, it is possible to treat food allergies with oral immunotherapy, which will allow you to reintroduce the food allergen to your regular diet again. Also, getting tested is the best way to reduce the risk of inflammation and related signs of immune conditions. 

Visiting an immunologist is no different than seeing a doctor for your common cold. Don’t be scared to take the next step.  

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