When Should You See a Doctor for Allergies?

In Diagnosis & Treatment by Dr. Clinton Osborn

Suffering from an allergy? Planning to see a doctor? A question that plagues a lot of people’s minds is, “When should we see a doctor regarding allergy symptoms?”

Many patients think that visiting an allergist for small allergic reactions is a waste of time and money. On the other hand, if you wait too long, the allergic reaction can get out of control. That is why it is essential to know when to visit an allergist. 

Today, we will provide you some insight into this question, and help you identify the extent of the allergy which you might be suffering. In a nutshell, we will help you make this decision accurately and scientifically.

When Should You Consult a Doctor for Allergies?

There are a few circumstances under which you should surely think about contacting a doctor or an allergist.

These include:

  • If you’re suffering from allergic symptoms like watery eyes, running nose, cough for more than a month, then it is time to see a doctor. Especially if the symptoms are interfering with your daily life.
  • When over-the-counter drugs do not result in any relief, it is advisable to see a doctor.
  • When suffering from various infections like ear infection, sinus infection, or even a headache, it is time to see a doctor.
  • If the allergic reactions lead to snoring which in turn results in insomnia, then it’s time to see a doctor.
  • These conditions might give you some time before leading to potential complications, but if you suffer from any additional medical conditions like cardiac problems, diabetes, or thyroid-related issues, you should see the doctor right after diagnosing the allergy symptoms.

If any of these conditions occur, then it is time to visit an allergist or a doctor. However, if the allergic reaction has elicited any issues to children or people of old age; it is time to see a doctor right away even before taking over-the-counter medication.

Instead of taking a guess, you can make an informed decision regarding when you should see a doctor for allergies.

Related: Flu vs Cold: Understanding the Differences

Types of Allergies:

Now that you know the conditions under which you need to consult a doctor, the question which might be in your mind is, are all allergies the same? Should you follow the same template for any allergy type?

The answer is no; not all allergies are the same. You can use the above conditions as a template, but we will also go into the details of different allergies below. 

Food Allergies

Many people are prone to allergic reactions from certain types of food because they do not have a robust immune system. Some might be too sensitive towards a particular food.

For example, a common food allergy is lactose intolerant. When a lactose-intolerant person consumes any dairy product, he/she will suffer from stomach pain, cramping, flatulent, and much more. 

Some of the most common allergy problems include nuts, wheat, milk, eggs, soy, and so on.

When should you see a doctor if you are suffering from a food allergy?

Food allergies can be detrimental and do warrant a visit to the physician’s office. The symptoms of a food allergy include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Swelling

Food allergies can be life-threatening because it causes swelling of the throat which can compromise the airway to prevent breathing. That is why some people carry an epi-pen to inject epinephrine in their bloodstream to prevent their throat from closing when they accidentally consume certain foods like peanuts.

The intensity of these symptoms will determine if you need to visit an allergist. If the symptoms are mild, you can wait it out or opt for over-the-counter medications. However, if the intensity is high, you should contact a medical practitioner immediately.

Pro tip:

If you’re not sure what food caused you to have an allergic reaction, then you need to contact a medical practitioner for various exams to determine what food allergen would instigate a significant immune response.

Seasonal Allergies

What constitutes seasonal allergies? Any allergy associated with a seasonal phenomenon or the climate is known as a seasonal allergy. The prime example is allergy from pollen during the springtime. A vast number of people suffer from this type of allergic reaction. 

During the spring, the pollen grains get dispersed in the air, which makes us prone to inhaling the pollen when we are doing something outdoors. If you suffer from pollen allergy, you’re likely to develop an allergic reaction.

When should you see a doctor if you suffer from seasonal allergies?

Before we dive in answer to the questions, let’s explore the symptoms of seasonal allergy response, which are: 

  • Swollen Eyes
  • Congestion
  • Runny nose

The good thing about these symptoms is that you can mostly take care of them at home. During the initial stages, the symptoms are pretty mild. That is why you can use home remedies, or you can opt for over-the-counter medications. The initial stage does not necessarily require a consultation with a doctor. However, if you experience these symptoms for over 2 to 3 weeks, it might be time to see a doctor.

On the other hand, if the intensity of the symptoms is more severe than the initial state of the allergy symptoms, then you should consult a medical practitioner without wasting any time. 

Chemical Allergies

These days, personal hygiene products such as perfumes, creams, and lotions consist of a variety of chemicals. People can easily get an allergic reaction from any of these chemicals in the products. Some products are created specifically for those with allergies.

The problem with chemical allergies is that it is tough to pinpoint which one is responsible for the allergic reaction. However, these allergies are generally mild and therefore, easy to treat.

When should you consult an allergist if you suffer from a chemical allergy?

The first thing that you need to do in such a case is to stop using the new products. It is likely that if you’re suffering from a chemical allergy reaction for the first time, it would be from a product that you have started using recently.

After stopping the product, you can consider over-the-counter medication to treat the reaction.

So, does that mean you don’t have to consult a doctor? No. If the symptoms persist for 3 to 4 weeks, then it’s essential that you talk to a doctor.

Insect Allergies

Stings from wasps, bees, fire ants, and other insects can cause an immediate reaction. Allergy attacks from insects are extremely severe and can produce symptoms like:

  • Swelling
  • Itching
  • Numbness
  • Cramping
  • Dizziness
  • Lack of consciousness

With these symptoms, it’s crucial to get help because the toxins from the insect can travel to the bloodstream resulting in shock along with allergy symptoms.

When to consult a doctor if you suffer from an insect allergy?

An insect bite is noticeable and the symptoms are not that hard to detect. When you suffer from an allergy attack, it is essential to consult an allergist right away.

This is not the type of allergic reaction that you can treat at home or eradicate with OTC drugs. The symptoms become worse as time progresses, and that is why you should get help immediately.

Medical Allergies

Some people are allergic to a specific type of medication. A common example is a penicillin allergy. In this case, an antibiotic or a drug to which you are allergic to is present in your bloodstream, therefore, stimulating the immune system to work against it.

 It can lead to symptoms like:

  • Nausea
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Hives
  • Dizziness

The symptoms can be severe, but usually stopping the drug would get rid of it.  

When should you visit a medical examiner if you suffer from a medical allergy?

If you suffer from a medical emergency, it is time to contact the doctor right away. This is especially the case if over-the-counter medications or home remedies can not provide you with relief. 

Moreover, the symptoms can be severe enough to cause significant complications like severe hives, redness, and swelling of the skin. This can irritate the lining of the skin to cause multiple cuts and abrasions that can make you vulnerable to secondary bacterial infections. 

You can easily detect an allergy symptom if you are aware of the most common allergic reactions. Fortunately, this is what we have highlighted to you today.

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Allergy Signs and Symptoms

Generally speaking, an allergy can affect specific parts of your body.  With careful observation, you will notice that the problem is an allergic response. If you are still confused, we will provide you with insights on the symptoms.

1. Skin

Skin is the most common victim of an allergic attack. Some of the skin symptoms which you need to watch out for include:

  • Scaling
  • Blistering
  • Weeping
  • Itching
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Hives

If you notice any of these symptoms, it is a clear indication that you are suffering from an allergic reaction.

2. Respiratory System

If an allergy is affecting the respiratory system, then this will indicate a severe allergic attack. With this in mind, it’s crucial to get yourself to the ER. 

The effects on the respiratory system include:

  • Coughing
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Chest tightness

These problems need attention right away because it could lead to some life-threatening complications.

3. Circulatory System

The circulatory system consists of blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. During an allergic reaction, the histamine releases from the body and dilates the blood vessels leading to significant blood flow, and ultimately tissue swelling and redness. The vasodilator effect from the histamine can also lower the blood pressure leading to potential shock.

The effects can include:

  • Increased heartbeat
  • Change in blood pressure levels
  • Vasodilation

These problems of the circulatory system clearly mark the issue of an allergic response.

4. Sinus Related Problems

Sinus related issues are the most common symptoms of an allergic reaction. These can include signs like:

  • Sneezing
  • Irritated throat
  • Inflammed throat
  • Nasal congestion
  • Redness of eyes
  • Itchy eyes

If you have these problems, it might be an indication that you’re suffering from an allergy.

5. Gastrointestinal Problems

Gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and stomach pain are a few other symptoms of allergic reactions.

Apart from these factors listed above, there are a few symptoms that cannot be categorized such as:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Chronic pain in different body parts

If you want to detect the problem in time, these are the symptoms you need to check. These symptoms have variable intensity, depending on the specific allergy that you are exposed to. 

Now that you are aware of these symptoms,  you should be able to make the proper judgment to determine whether or not to seek medical help.

How Can an Allergist Help You?

An allergist is a specialist that have gone through additional training after completing their residency in internal medicine. That means they are equipped with additional in-depth knowledge about the treatment of allergy reactions. 

Here is what an allergic can do to help you:

1. A Formal Diagnosis of Your Allergies

Even though with the above symptoms, you might be able to detect an allergic response happening at the present moment, but a definite diagnosis by a certified doctor is still required. 

The medical practitioner can check for signs and let you know the origin of the allergy symptoms. This will enable you to take extra precautions to avoid certain allergens.

2. Create a Proper Treatment Plan

The doctor will create a proper treatment plan for you. He or she will ask you specific questions to create a proper treatment regime.

3. Prescribe You the Correct Medicine

The doctor will need to take into account your medical history and any other medications that you might be taking. Therefore, they can provide you with proper allergy medication without having to worry about drug interactions.

4. Controlling the Intensity of the Symptoms

If the symptoms get out of hand, the doctor will not only help you avoid the trigger but eliminate the symptoms as well.


With our detailed guide above, you can figure out whether you need to consult a doctor for your allergy or not. This guide aims to direct people to the right course of treatment and to get rid of the allergy problem. If you’ve exhausted over-the-counter or prescribed medical treatments, try incorporating herbal alternatives in your diet like curcumin and turmeric to relive symptoms of asthma and allergies.

Studies show that curcumin has anantihistamine-like effect and can target respiratory inflammation. If it helps reduce the frequency and severity of allergic reactions and asthma attacks even a small amount

If OTC medications or home remedies are not alleviating the issue, then it’s time to seek help before it leads to complications like closed airway, asthma attack, or severe hives.

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