What Distinguishes an Allergist from a General Physician?
 What Distinguishes an Allergist from a General Physician?

An allergist is a name given to a doctor who has completed the necessary training and education in the study of the human immune system. In addition to obtaining their medical degree and becoming licensed to practice medicine in Canada, they must undergo at least three additional years of training to become licensed in either internal medicine or pediatric medicine, then complete a two-year fellowship in a specialty program at one of eight medical schools in Canada.

These additional qualifications give them the ability to diagnose and treat allergies, asthma, and other immunological conditions.

When to ask for a referral to an allergist 

According to Statistics Canada, 27.3% of all Canadians reported allergies obtained by an official referral for allergy testing. However, this statistic does not take into account the difficulty in obtaining an allergist referral and therefore is likely to significantly underestimate the actual prevalence of allergies in Canada that require allergy testing.

If over-the-counter medication such as antihistamines is not providing you relief, or if you are unsure what might be causing your symptoms, you’ve likely already asked yourself “do I need a referral for allergy testing?”

Connecting with the general physicians at WalkInVirtualClinics can provide you with an assessment of your allergy symptoms and, if necessary, a referral to an allergist working in Canada.

Note that symptoms of asthma or anaphylactic shock are considered medical emergencies, and should be evaluated by your local emergency department.

Do you need a referral to see an allergist? 

The answer to the question of whether you have to be referred to an allergist depends on a number of factors, including your age, medical history, and family history of allergies.

Allergic reactions and other conditions involving the body’s immune system are complex, and diagnosis is not always straightforward. That’s why referrals for allergy testing must be provided by a licensed general physician first.

If you’ve been asking yourself “do I need a referral for an allergist”, it seems likely that you have been experiencing significant distress from allergy symptoms, and for some time.

An allergist referral can help you identify the root causes of your symptoms and help you create a list of foods to avoid or seasonal pollen triggers. A referral for allergy testing involves an initial assessment by a general physician before a written referral to see an allergist online.

An official referral can provide you with relief of your symptoms, crucial information to keep your health optimal, as well as written documentation to provide to your insurance company for reimbursement of any associated costs.

As always, consult with your insurance company’s list of covered medical expenses and requirements to see if you do need a referral for allergy testing, or whether the procedure is covered automatically.

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What happens after I get a referral for allergy testing?

WalkInVirtualClinic’s team of skilled general practitioners is ready to assess your severity of allergy symptoms and, if necessary, provide you with the referral you need for allergy testing with a licensed allergist.

From there, it is important for you to follow the instructions that the allergist’s clinic provides you. This may involve fasting for a certain period of time, avoiding certain foods or medications, or another way of preparing for your upcoming allergy testing.

Completing your appointment after you’ve been referred to an allergist 

WalkInVirtualClinics general physician will discuss your medical history with you and your list of allergy symptoms. After careful consideration, if they determine that your allergy symptoms are severe enough to warrant a referral, they will provide you with a referral to see an allergist.

Allergy testing must be done in person. Simply provide the written referral to the allergist’s office and schedule your appointment.

What can I expect from my referral for allergy testing? 

Allergy testing usually involves exposures to small quantities of common allergens induced via a pinprick. Dozens of common allergens are tested at once. It is likely your body will only react to a handful of them.

If your allergy symptoms appear to be triggered by food, you may be asked to fast or refrain from drinking liquids for a period of time before your allergy testing appointment.

Depending on your allergy test results, your allergist will provide you with further information on reducing your allergy symptoms, avoiding possible triggers, seasonal patterns in allergies, and may provide you prescription medications, provide counseling on the proper use of over-the-counter medications.

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