People are often confused when it comes to who should be taking care of patients with allergies. This is partly due to the fact that there is more than one answer. Generally, mild allergies can be treated by primary care physicians; however, in order to obtain information on the exact cause of your allergy, as well as the latest and most effective treatment options, people should consult an allergy specialist or allergist.
What is an Allergist?
Simply put, allergists are specialists who treat allergies.
Allergies arise when our body's defense system begins to react to everyday things as foreign invaders. These reactions, which occur in more than 20% of the population, cause symptoms like runny nose, itchy eyes, sneezing, wheezing, coughing, and various kinds of skin rashes. Allergic reactions can lead to such disorders as asthma, hay fever, sinusitis, stinging insect reactions, food and drug allergies, allergic rashes, and hives. These conditions are best treated by the allergy specialist.
The allergist is a physician who is first trained in a basic specialty, such as internal medicine or pediatrics, and then completed a second training period, typically two years or longer, in allergic disease diagnosis and treatment. This leads to board certification by the American Board of Allergy and Immunology. While any physician may treat allergies, it is the trained Board-Certified Allergist/ Immunologist who is an expert on allergies and the physician best able to apply the latest knowledge, techniques, and tools needed to not only determine what is causing the allergic problem but also how best to remedy it.