What is an Allergist?
An allergist/immunologist is a physician specially trained to manage and treat allergies and asthma. Becoming an allergist/immunologist requires completion of at least nine years of training. After completing medical school and graduating with a medical degree, a physician will then undergo three years of training in internal medicine (to become an internist) or pediatrics (to become a pediatrician). Once physicians have finished training in one of these specialties, they must pass the exam of either the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP) or the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM). Internists or pediatricians who wish to focus on the subspecialty of allergy/immunology then complete at least an additional two years of study, called a fellowship, in an allergy/immunology training program. Allergist/immunologists who are listed as ABAI-certified have successfully passed the certifying examination of the American Board of Allergy and Immunology (ABAI), following their fellowship.
As a result of this extensive study and training, an allergist/immunologist is the best-qualified medical professional to effectively manage the comprehensive needs of patients with allergic disease. Allergist/immunologists are trained in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of immune system problems such as allergies, asthma, inherited immunodeficiency diseases and autoimmune diseases. Unlike a cold, allergic disease is not a condition that someone can just "get over." The help of a trained allergist/immunologist can reduce how often patients need to stay home from work or school due to symptoms. Studies show that those under the care of an allergist/immunologist also make fewer visits to emergency rooms, and are better able to daily manage their allergies and asthma.