What is an Allergist?

An allergist/immunologist is a physician who has specialized training and accreditation to evaluate, diagnose and treat individuals with allergies, asthma and other disorders of the immune system.

Education
After four years of medical school, an allergist must complete three years of residency training in either internal medicine (adult medicine) or pediatrics. A future allergist then needs to pass their board examinations in internal medicine or pediatrics before undertaking an additional 2-3 years of fellowship training in the specialty of allergy/immunology. An allergist becomes board certified by passing a rigorous examination that covers both immunology and clinical science. A board-certified allergist is trained in the evaluation and management of both adult and pediatric patients.

Conditions
Common medical conditions that allergists manage include environmental allergies (hayfever), asthma, immunodeficiency, urticaria (hives), atopic dermatitis (eczema), drug allergies, chronic cough, food allergies, insect allergy and eosinophilic esophagitis. A board-certified allergist/immunologist can dramatically improve the quality of life for patients with these conditions resulting in decreased emergency room visits, acute doctor office visits and days missed from school or work.

Tests & Treatments Provided
An allergist/immunologist will combine an in-depth interview, environmental exposure history, and physical examination together with specific laboratory tests to help arrive at a diagnosis. Common tests performed in an allergist’s office includes allergen skin testing and spirometry which is a test to measure lung function. A board-certified allergist will provide individualized treatment plans focusing on environmental avoidance measures and prevention in addition to medical treatment. Allergists are especially recognized for being the expert provider of allergen immunotherapy (allergy shots and sublingual drops). Allergen immunotherapy is the only active intervention that can alleviate allergy or asthma symptoms without the use of medications.

 
 
     
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