ZocdocAnswersWhich doctor should I consult?

Question

Which doctor should I consult?

I’m a 40 year old father of two, with a history of seasonal allergies. For the last 2 weeks, it has been particularly bad. I have a stuffy, running nose, and my eyes are itchy and red. Should I see an allergist about this? I have seen an eye doctor but the symptoms persist.

Answer

This is a good question, and one that is relatively common this time of the year. Physicians in general approach allergies with subtle differences, and depending on what specialty they are, they will slant their treatment pending what they are comfortable with. For instance, it sounds like you do have a lot of allergic-type complaints when it comes to your eyes (itchy, red, etc...), but you also have other systems involved. One approach to allergies is seeing a specialist in whatever bothers you the most (ex. eyes, runny nose, etc) However, I would make sure that they are treating all of your symptoms and not just the area that they have specialized in (which is a risk you run with seeing only a specialist). It is for this reason that I would recommend that you see an allergist first to treat you systemically (since in very general terms "allergies" are the immune systems over reaction to a stimulus...aka the allergen), and if you still have problems that are related to your allergies that you see the appropriate specialist for those specific issues. Like if you still have eye problems (then you'd see an ophthalmologist), or if you had sinonasal polyps (then you'd see an ENT). I hope this is helpful. Again it's just my approach with patients, and it seems to make the most sense to me.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.