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Medical Evaluation of Allergies

Before your appointment

Before your appointment with a board-certified allergy/immunology physician, you may consider keeping a diary of the symptoms you attribute to "allergy."

Medical history: Questions your doctor may ask

  • What type of symptoms do you have?
  • How long have you had these symptoms?
  • When symptoms occur, how long do they last?
  • Are your symptoms seasonal (come and go throughout the year) or do they last year-round?
  • Do your symptoms occur when you are outdoors or indoors?
  • Do your symptoms get worse when you are around pets? Do you have any pets?
  • Do you smoke? Does anyone in your family smoke?
  • Are your symptoms interfering with your daily activities or interrupting your sleep?
  • What makes your symptoms better? What types of treatments have you tried?
  • What allergy medication(s) are you taking now? Do these medications provide relief? Do they cause unwanted drowsiness or other adverse effects?
  • What other medications are you taking, including prescription, over-the-counter, vitamins, and herbal supplements?
  • What type of heating system do you have? Do you have central air conditioning?
  • Do you have any other health conditions, such as asthma or high blood pressure?
  • Are you having difficulty with your sense of smell or taste?
  • What makes your symptoms worse?  Better?
  • How much can you modify your lifestyle to reduce your exposure to these allergens?
Medical examination

A medical examination will include a physical examination of your chest, heart, neck, skin, eyes, nose, ears, and throat.

Tests may be performed, based on your doctor's recommendations after the medical history and physical examination, to determine which allergens are causing your symptoms. These tests may include skin tests and/or blood tests.

Questions to ask your doctor

  • What substances are causing my allergies?
  • What allergy symptoms I should be concerned about? When is it necessary to call the doctor?
  • What allergy medications or other treatments are available? What are the benefits/side effects of each treatment?
  • Am I a candidate for allergen immunotherapy (allergy shots)?
  • What guidelines should I follow if I'm prescribed allergy medication?
  • Should I take medicine all the time or only when my allergy symptoms become worse?
  • How can I avoid or reduce exposure to certain allergens?
  • What can I do around my house to reduce my exposure to relevant allergens?
  • Should I avoid going outside during certain times of the day?
  • What can I do to decrease allergy symptoms when I do have to go outside?
  • How often should I come in for follow-up appointments?
References

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Can't find the health information you’re looking for?

This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 1/15/2014...#8627