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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT IS AN ALLERGIST?
An allergist (or allergist / immunologist) is a medical doctor with residency training in Internal Medicine and/or Pediatrics, subspecialty fellowship training in Allergy & Immunology and board-certification by the American Board of Allergy & Immunology. Dr. Chen holds the title of FAAAAI by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, recognizing him as a leader in the specialty dedicated to upholding latest standard of care through continual education in state and national allergy societies.
WHO SHOULD SEE AN ALLERGIST?
Anyone whose allergies disrupt daily living, do not respond to over-the-counter medicines or seeks testing for the cause of their symptoms. Patients with persistent asthma, food, medication or insect allergies should seek an allergist. Primary and urgent care clinics have limited tools to treat severe allergies and asthma. We address the underlying triggers for your discomfort and not just the symptoms.
Our practice sees patients of all ages from infants to adults. Allergies affect people of all ages, genders, races and social status. Although allergies tend to develop in childhood, they can occur at any age or, in some cases, recur after many years of remission. Allergies often run in families and we commonly treat multiple members of the same family.
WHAT IS ALLERGY TESTING? WHAT ARE ALLERGY SHOTS AND DROPS?
MY PRIMARY CARE OFFICE OR URGENT CARE CLAIMS TO TREAT AND/OR TEST ALLERGIES. WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?
Steroid injections given for allergies in the primary or urgent care settings only mask symptoms temporarily and carry a risk of weight gain, elevated blood sugar, bone damage and adrenal suppression. These are absolutely NOT a long-term solution and if you are getting these, it is time to see an allergist.
Beware of "allergy tests" offered in some urgent and primary care clinics. These technicians may use misleading terms to claim competence but are NOT board-certified allergists regardless of how they present themselves. This deprives you of a specialist's expertise, potentially exposing you or your child to sub-optimal or even fraudulent care. Allergy care through these sources may not contain the proper dose for lasting relief. Some imitators endorse self-administration of allergy shots at home, which is incompatible with current standards of care and puts YOU at risk for side effects.
HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE ASTHMA?
Diagnosing asthma requires a combination of medical history, a detailed physical examination, and lung function testing in the office. Certain laboratory tests may be used to determine your specific asthma triggers.
Not all breathing difficulty is due to asthma. It is important that a trained specialist evaluates you before making a diagnosis.
CAN I EXERCISE OR PLAY SPORTS WITH ASTHMA?
Yes! Although asthma can be triggered by exercise, with proper treatment many patients participate fully in sports and outdoor hobbies. A healthy diet and lifestyle actually improves asthma symptoms. We can get you back to enjoying your favorite activities.
DO I HAVE FOOD ALLERGIES?
An allergy test alone is not enough to diagnose food allergy. Patients often self-diagnose or hope that a single test that will tell them exactly how to feel better.
Some companies offer tests purporting to diagnose "food sensitivities" and claim removal of such foods improves a variety of symptoms. It is important to understand that this test has never been scientifically proven to be able to accomplish what it reports to do. Results are often inaccurate and lead to overly restrictive dietary changes and worse, nutritional deficiencies.
A thorough history and physical exam by a trained allergist is important to distinguish what is and is not an allergy. Learn more about the value of food allergy testing here.