Making it Easier To Stick With Your Allergy Treatment
One way to make it easier to stick with your allergy treatment is to be sure you're getting all the benefit out of it you can. Keeping a diary and mastering the skills of self-management of your allergies will help. But it's also important to remember that controlling your nasal allergies is really a team effort.
Your nasal allergies can be managed with your doctor's help. But sometimes it may seem difficult to get what you need from your doctor. Below is a list of obstacles that may prevent you from getting what you need. Look over each barrier to success and review the accompanying strategies that can help you get the most from your doctor visits.
Barrier: My doctor is very busy and doesn't seem to have time to answer a lot of my questions about my allergies.
Success Strategy: You have a right to be informed. Your doctor wants your allergy symptoms to improve, so tell your doctor that you'd like to spend a few minutes discussing your questions at the beginning or end of your visit. Then start by asking those questions that are most important for you. Ask if there are nurse practitioners or other staff available for you to talk with, as well.
Barrier: I feel embarrassed asking questions about my allergies and allergy treatment.
Success Strategy: Part of your doctor's job is to provide you with information about your allergies and how you can get better. Doctors are used to answering questions. The only "silly" question is the one that doesn't get asked.
Barrier: I can't remember what I wanted to discuss or ask about my allergies until after I leave the doctor's office.
Success Strategy: Make a plan before you go for your visit. Think about what you'd like to accomplish and what questions you'd like to ask. For instance, maybe you want to talk with your doctor about your allergy medication side effects and ask about changing your dose or when you take your allergy medication. Write down your questions about your allergies and allergy treatment and take your list with you.
Barrier: I don't remember everything my doctor says.
Success Strategy: Take a notepad and write down what the doctor says, or bring along a friend or family member. Also, ask the doctor if there is any printed information about allergies or allergy treatments you can take home with you.
Barrier: I get nervous when I go to the doctor and have trouble talking about my allergies.
Success Strategy: Planning ahead helps. Bring along a list of the key points you want to cover with your doctor. If it makes you more comfortable, ask a trusted friend or family member to come with you. Take your personal allergy diary to the doctor's office and use it to discuss your issues.
Barrier: I don't know when I should call my doctor.
Success Strategy: Ask your doctor for a list of any symptoms that might require immediate attention. Also, ask which allergy medication side effects you should watch for, including the ones that are just bothersome and those that may be more serious.
Barrier: My doctor provides me with basic information about allergies and allergy treatment, but I need to know more.
Success Strategy: See more allergy articles to expand your knowledge and get more allergy information. In addition, you'll find other resources, toll-free numbers, and links listed in Allergy Information.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Written by Karen Serrano, MD Emergency Medicine resident at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Reviewed by Lisa V. Suffian, MD
Instructor of Clinical Pediatrics in the Division of Allergy and Pulmonary Medicine at Saint Louis Children's Hospital, Washington University School of Medicine
Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital, Saint Louis University
Board certified in Allergy and Immunology
Last updated June 2008