Allergies: What To Do When You Suspect Them

Sniffing throughout the day or feeling your eyes tear up can immediately make you think you've got a cold. However, allergic reactions to food, the environment, and other triggers could be the cause of how you feel. If you suspect allergies, consider the following.

1-Seeing a Doctor 

You may go back and forth about whether you're coping with a common cold or have recurring allergies. You may not think your symptoms need immediate treatment, but if they've continued on for more than a week, it's time to ask a professional. If you diagnose yourself and never seek treatment, your cold could worsen into a sinus or ear infection. If it's allergies, you're only prolonging your suffering by not getting treatment. A physician can give you the definitive answer you need to properly care for your health.

2-Looking for Triggers

Because you're not sure whether allergies affect you yet, start looking for triggers that make symptoms worse. You might even start keeping a journal. Do you feel worse at your house than you do outside? Do you feel better indoors? What is your diet like? Have you moved recently to a different climate? Does a new romantic partner have a pet and you feel worse when you're in their home even if you never see the animal? All of these things can provide clues about possible allergies.

3-Being Tested

Once you've seen a doctor and presented them with some information about what seems to trigger you, they may go forward with allergy testing scripts for you. Being tested for allergies can sometimes be a longer process than expected. You may need to sit for skin-scratching tests or other exams meant to expose the source of your allergies. You'll then need to wait for results. The results should offer you a clear list of allergens that you should be aware of.

4-Getting Treated

Once allergies are revealed, you and your doctor will discuss the next move. Medication can usually keep symptoms at bay, although you may decide to save it for days when you're particularly ill. For serious allergies, you may get a shot periodically throughout the year. You might even need to carry a special device which will administer medicine if you go into anaphylactic shock from exposure to an allergen.

Learning that you have allergies will give you the information and tools to combat them. Working with your personal doctor will help you feel better.

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