What is an Allergist?
An allergist is a medical doctor (M.D. or D.O.) who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of allergies and other disorders of the immune system, including:
- Allergic conjunctivitis (eye allergies)
- Anaphylaxis (life-threatening allergic reactions)
- Atopic dermatitis (eczema)
- Food allergies
- Hay fever (Allergic Rhinitis)
Allergists offer diagnostic testing of allergies that are not available in most physician's office, such as skin testing for specific allergens.
In addition, allergists offer allergy shots (immunotherapy) for the long-term control of allergies. Allergy shots are often recommended for people with allergic symptoms that are chronic and difficult to control, who wish to reduce their use of oral allergy medications, and for specific allergies, such as insect stings.
Medical Traning of Allergists
After completing medical school, allergists complete 3 years of medical traning in internal medicine or pediatrics, and then at least two years of fellowship training in an allergy and immunology program focused specifically on the management of allergic and immunologic conditions.
An allergist who is listed as "ABAI-certified" has successfully passed the certifying exam of the American Board of Allergy and Immunology (ABAI), after completing their fellowship.
Benefits of Seeing An Allergist
Allergists can reduce the number of days patients need to stay home from work or school because of allergy symptoms. Studies show that people under the care of an allergist also make fewer visits to emergency rooms, and are better able to manage their allergies and asthma on a daily basis.
Professional Allergy Organizations
Allergists may belong to one of several professional medical organizations, including the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI), and the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI)