What Does an Allergy Doctor Do?
If you are interested in finding out what an allergist does, you may want to start by looking into their particular specialty. Since not all doctors practice the same medical care, they may focus on a certain type of care when they see patients. This is especially the case for physicians who specialize in working with patients that have allergies. Considering that fact, what does an allergy doctor do?
1. Specializes in Treating Allergies, Lung Diseases, Immune and Respiratory Problems
First of all, you should know that an Allergy doctor may work with both pediatric and adult patients. The patients that these physicians usually care for are people who suffer from various kinds of illnesses and diseases of the respiratory tract and the immune system. In some cases, the patient may have regular bouts with allergies and need help with getting the relief that they need. Some of the most common health concerns that these physicians treat are listed below.
- Diseases of the Lung
- Food and drug allergies
- Immune System deficiencies
- Chronic Sinus Problems
Based on the specialty that these physicians pursue, they may focus their care on patients that need treatment in the areas of immunology or allergies. In short, these physicians may pursue one or more disciplines including clinical practice, education or research.
2. Evaluate Patients to Provide a Diagnosis
When an allergy doctor sees patients and they complete their examination, they may suspect the patient is suffering from an allergy to something around them. If this is the case, the physician may perform some standard allergy tests to see if they can find the patient's triggers (i.e. allergic to dog hair, food, etc.). There are presently 2 different allergy tests that can be performed on a patient, and they are the blood tests and skin tests.
Blood Allergy Tests are very instrumental in helping physicians to identify problems that their patients are dealing with. For instance, when Dr. Ran Y. Rubinstein, an allergy doctor of Hudson Valley, is evaluating a patient that is suffering from various kinds of allergy symptoms, he may order a blood test. These tests measure the patient's immune system's response to specific types of foods. For instance, some patients may be allergic to peanuts, milk, and other foods that they may be eating regularly.
Skin Allergy Tests / Scratch Tests are one of the most commonly known allergy tests. The results of these tests can be performed and read the same day by the physician. With the use of various tiny bits of allergens injected into the skin, an allergic reaction can be seen within a matter of 15 minutes. For instance, once these substances are injected into the skin, the allergy doctor will be able to tell if the child or adult is allergic to one or more things. Some of the things that the allergy doctor may see on the skin tests are if a patient is allergic to:
- mold or dust mites
- dog hair
- cat hair
- specific types of foods
3. Prescribe a Course of Treatment for Sinus Infections
After the allergy doctor has identified what the patient is allergic to, one of the next things that they will need to do is to establish a course of treatment. For instance, if a patient is allergic to mold or dust mites, these problems may trigger a sinus infection that needs to be treated right away. Aside from telling the patient to stay away from any place that has mold or dust mites, the allergy doctor may prescribe several different things, including the following.
- saline nasal spray
- over-the-counter pain relievers
4. They Advise Patients on What Foods to Eat
As mentioned above an allergy doctor is responsible for a wide range of different duties and responsibilities. Based on their specialty field, their job is to assist their patients in alleviating and eliminating the signs, symptoms and the medical condition that they are experiencing. For instance, one of their most essential roles is to advise their patients on what types of foods to avoid eating. This is especially true for those patients who have taken skin tests that show allergic reactions to the following foods.
- tree nuts (ie. walnuts and cashews)
- shellfish (ie. shrimp)
5. Monitor their Patients Progress and Adjust Treatment as Needed
After the physician diagnoses their patient's medical condition and prescribes a customized treatment, these duties do not stop there. For instance, an allergy doctor will also monitor the patient's progress to ensure the treatment prescribed is working. In some cases, this may even mean switching the patient prescription to a lesser dosage to avoid harsh side effects from the meds that the patient is taking. Whatever the type of care that is needed, these doctors are trained to provide follow-up care to make sure the patient's condition gets better and not worse.
In some cases, the patient may need to take allergy regularly to reduce or stop the attacks. Based on the patient and the severity of their medical condition, a patient may take these injections for around 3 to 5 years.
So, what does an allergy doctor do? The answer to this question can vary from one allergy doctor to another. However, the role that they play in the lives of their patients is relatively the same in nature, particularly since they may treat both children and adults for problems with allergies and other respiratory problems.
Also, aside from using blood tests and skin tests to assess and identify their patient's triggers, these physicians are equipped with the knowledge, experience, and expertise to devise a custom treatment plan based on the individual and their needs. In some cases, the treatment may consist of prescribing nasal saline spray and decongestants to recommending an over the counter drug for acute sinus pain.