What is an allergist? 

An allergist/immunologist  (more commonly referred to as an allergist) is a physician specially trained to diagnose, treat and manage allergies, asthma, and immunologic disorders which can range from very common to very rare, spanning all ages and encompassing various organ systems. The range of conditions managed by the allergist includes hay fever, asthma, eczema, sinusitis, hives, rashes and reactions to foods, medicines,  and insect stings, anaphylaxis, angoedema and immunodeficiency disorders.

In the United States, becoming an allergist requires at least an additional nine years of training after graduating from college. After completing medical school and graduating with a medical degree, physicians undergo an additional three years of training in either pediatrics or internal medicine, followed by two to three years of fellowship training in allergy and immunology. 

Allergist/Immunologists listed as ABAI-certified have successfully passed the certifying examination of the American Board of Allergy and Immunology (ABAI) as well as the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP) or the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM). Every board certified allergist has credentials in at least two specialities. Many board certified allergists have achieved the rank of Fellow with their national specialty societies (AAAAI, ACAAI). When you see "FAAAAI" or "FACAAI" alonside the designation of "MD", you know that the allergist/immunologist has met many of the highest standards in the field.  

Although any physician may treat allergic diseases, the board certified allergist/immunologist has advanced training and experience in the techniques of determining what is causing the problem and how to best solve it. Insist on an allergist certified by the ABAI for your specialty allergy care.

© Linda D. Green, M.D. 2015