Allergists are doctors who have specialized training and experience to help you understand and control your asthma. When you visit an allergist, the doctor will:
The allergist may also order other tests such as blood tests or allergy tests. Allergy tests can be done at any age and can be helpful in finding out if your asthma is triggered by allergies.
Effective asthma treatment includes monitoring control with a peak flow meter, identifying and avoiding allergen triggers, using drug therapies such as bronchodilators and anti-inflammatory agents, and developing an emergency plan for severe attacks.
Once your allergist has identified factors that trigger your asthma, you can learn how to avoid them. This is the most important first step to controlling your asthma. In some cases, avoidance can be just as effective as taking medicine.
There are two types of medicines to treat asthma: “quick-relief” medicines and “controller” medicines.
If your asthma is triggered by an allergy, you should consider allergy shots. Allergy shots, which are also known as immunotherapy, are very effective in relieving allergy symptoms and, in some cases, can actually cure your allergy.
The treatment builds up immunity to your offending allergens, usually over several years. It works by injecting small amounts of the allergen in gradually increasing amounts over time. As the shots help your immune system build up tolerance to the effects of the allergen, they eventually reduce and can even eliminate your allergy symptoms. Allergy shots should only be administered by staff that has training and experience in handling a reaction you could have after receiving an allergy shot.
Anti-IgE is a treatment that stops an allergic reaction before it begins, helping prevent asthma attacks by blocking the antibody that causes the reaction. The treatment is approved for patients age 12 and older who have moderate-to-severe allergic asthma. Anti-IgE is different from immunotherapy but it is also given by injection. Anti-IgE should only be administered by staff that has training and experience in handling a reaction you could have after receiving an injection of anti-IgE.
Anyone with allergies and asthma should be able to feel good, be active all day and sleep well at night. No one should accept less. Your allergist can:
© 2016, American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
Reproduced with permission.