Talking to your doctor about allergies

When to see your doctor about allergies

Sometimes, allergies can be treated with at-home remedies or over-the-counter medications. But there are a number of reasons why it may be a good idea to seek a doctor's help. Use the Allergy Quick Test to find out if it's time to see your doctor.

In general, you should consider seeing your doctor about your allergies if:

  • your allergy symptoms interfere with your daily activities
  • your allergy treatment isn't giving you the relief you want
  • you are bothered by side effects from your allergy treatment
  • you suffer from allergies throughout the year
  • you are having trouble remembering to use your allergy treatment
  • you have any other questions or concerns about your allergies

How your doctor can help

Your doctor can help you with your allergies by:

  • helping you pinpoint the cause of your allergies
  • providing advice on how to avoid your allergens
  • helping you find a treatment that works for you, with no or minimal side effects
  • ensuring you don't take allergy medications that can affect other health conditions that you may have or are being treated for (e.g., some medications can worsen glaucoma by increasing the pressure in your eyes (intraocular pressure) – if you have glaucoma, your doctor may suggest a medication that does not increase intraocular pressure)

How to prepare for your visit

You'll get the most out of your doctor's visit if you come prepared.

Be ready to describe:

  • your symptoms, including when they started, whether they may be linked to certain substances, locations or times of year, and how they affect your life
  • any recent changes in your life (such as a new job or home)
  • treatments you have tried and how they have affected your symptoms
  • your medical conditions, medication allergies, and any other medications you are taking
  • whether the treatments you have tried caused any side effects that have bothered you or caused you to stop taking your medication

Before your visit, write down any questions you may have about your allergy symptoms and treatment. Use the Doctor Discussion Guide for a sample list of questions to get you started, as well as other tips on preparing for your visit. Print a copy of the Doctor Discussion Guide and bring it to your visit, along with a pen and paper to take notes.

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