Allergy & Immunology

What is allergology and immunology?

Allergology and immunology are similar branches of medicine that focus on conditions relating to the immune system. This discipline can be complex, as allergic or immune reactions can occur anywhere in the body and be triggered by any number of substances or factors.

What are the signs and symptoms of a person who may see these specialists?

Because allergic reactions can have such a vast range of causes, severities, and presentations, it can sometimes be difficult to differentiate an allergy from some other sort of condition. With that in mind, individuals experiencing regular symptoms, such as congestion or sneezing, may benefit from seeing an allergist or immunologist.

Asthma

Asthma is a chronic condition of the respiratory system where the airways may become inflamed, making breathing difficult. Asthma is a common condition that affects millions of people worldwide.

Hay Fever

Also known as allergic rhinitis, hay fever is an extremely common condition that represents the 12th most common diagnosis from family physician appointments. Hay fever is an exaggerated allergic response to environmental materials, such as dust, pollen, and certain plants. Severity and triggers vary between individuals, but symptoms typically include sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion, and itchy eyes.

Food Allergies

Some allergic reactions occur as a result of certain foods that the individual’s body is hypersensitive to. The causative food(s) and severity of the reaction can vary greatly between affected individuals. It is important to differentiate between food intolerance, and a true food allergy.

Drug Allergies

Similar to food allergies, medications may also evoke an allergic response in some people. Once again, causative agents and reaction severity can differ significantly.

Rashes

Rashes may present from many allergic reactions, the most common of which is known as contact dermatitis. This type of rash occurs when the skin makes contact with a substance that the individual is allergic to, such as certain metals or ingredients.

Sinusitis

Sinusitis is the inflammation of the sinuses that results in symptoms such as congestion, headache, and pressure within the head. Sinusitis can present as either acute or chronic.

What are the signs and symptoms of a person who may see these specialists?

Because allergic reactions can have such a vast range of causes, severities, and presentations, it can sometimes be difficult to differentiate an allergy from some other sort of condition. With that in mind, individuals experiencing regular symptoms, such as congestion or sneezing, may benefit from seeing an allergist or immunologist.

How to schedule an appointment with an allergy and immunology specialist?

In most cases, a referral from a primary care provider (PCP) is needed in order to schedule an appointment with these specialists.

During the appointment with the PCP, discuss symptoms and the possibility that allergies might be the cause.

During the appointment with the specialist, tests may be performed to identify the potential presence of an allergy, as well as to identify the best course of action. These tests may include skin tests, blood tests, and lung function tests, among others.