Many people ask what exactly does an Allergy specialist do?
After all, a cardiologist deals with the heart, a pulmonologist deals with the lungs, an orthopedist deals with the bones etc. So which organs does an allergist treat? The simple answer is all of them. Allergies don’t affect only one part of the body. They can affect the eyes (allergic conjunctivitis), skin (eczema, hives), gut (eosinophilic esophagitis), nose (allergic rhinitis), blood (eosinophilia), lungs (asthma), anaphylaxis (the whole body!) and much more. So when dealing with patients, you can’t just focus on one part of the body, as allergies can be a systemtic disease. The body needs to be treated as a whole, with all of the parts interacting with one another.
We perform allergy testing in the office for those who may have food or environmental allergies. This is commonly known as the allergy test, the prick test or the scratch test. It entails of basically pricking your skin with a device that is dipped in the susceptible allergen. The allergy test can performed in seconds by your allergy doctor or allergy specialist. Common foods tested for are wheat, milk, soy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish and fish, other foods although can be tested for as well. Environmental allergy testing is performed the same way, common allergy triggers are trees, grass, weeds, cats, dogs, dust mite and molds. After the testing is done, you sit and wait approximately 15 minutes for a reaction to develop. What we look for is a wheal (bump) and a flare (redness) at the area that is pricked. The allergist will then measure the size of the reaction and give you your report and let you know what you are allergic to. It is a very simple test and it can be performed on children as young as 1 year of age. The test can be performed on the back or the arms of an individual.
If you have allergies, find a local allergy doctor who can help you.