Allergy specialists undergo similar training to other medical specialists, as well as additional training in immunology and allergy. They may work in private practice, hospitals, universities or research centres. As with all medical specialists, you will need a referral from a general practitioner in order to arrange a consultation with an allergy specialist. So, when would you need to see one?
Some allergy problems, such as mild hayfever, may not need specialist treatment, as the use of an over‐the‐counter antihistamine medication may be sufficient. More serious allergies can interfere with day to day activities or may even be life threatening. Allergy symptoms often develop slowly over time and you may get used to having them, but a specialist can help you to prevent or minimise these and by doing so, improve your quality of life. You should see an allergy specialist if:
- You experience hayfever symptoms for several months of the year.
- Over‐the‐counter medicines don’t control your symptoms.
- Your allergies get in the way of carrying out daily activities.
- Your allergies are causing chronic sinus infections, nasal congestion or difficulty breathing.
- You experience signs of a serious allergy such as wheezing or coughing especially after exercise, struggling to catch your breath, or being frequently out of breath.
Reference: 1. Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy, What is a Clinical Immunology/ Allergy Specialist?, 2013, http://www.allergy.org.au, (accessed 6 March 2018)
Reference 2. American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, When should I see an allergist?, 2010, https://acaai.org/allergies/treatment/when-to-see-allergist (accessed 6 March 2018)