|What Is an Allergist?
Overview of Allergists
An allergist/immunologist is a physician trained to prevent, diagnose, manage, and treat allergic disease. As
a result of extensive study and training, allergists/immunologists are highly qualified to manage immune
system disorders such as allergies, asthma, inherited and acquired immunodeficiency diseases causing
An allergist is trained to determine the cause of allergies, whether they are related to or caused by foods,
environmental factors (such as pollen), drugs, or topical substances. Conditions that an allergist commonly
treats include the following:
• Food allergies
• Hay Fever
Allergist Educational Requirements
After completing medical school, the physician must complete 3 years of additional training in either internal
medicine or pediatrics to become an allergist immunologist. Following this residency, the internist must pass
the board examination of the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) or the board examination of the
American Board of Pediatrics (ABP) prior to entering a post graduate fellowship in Allergy and Immunology
Allergist Board Certification
The internist or pediatrician who wishes to specialize in allergy/immunology then must complete at least 2
years of study (called a fellowship) in an allergy -immunology training program. To be certified by the
American Board of Allergy and Immunology (ABAI), allergists/immunologists must successfully pass a
certifying examination administered by ABAI following completion of their fellowship.
To Diagnose Allergies
Allergists/immunologists take a thorough patient history, including information about symptoms; family
history; and home, work, and school environments. The allergist immunologist also may perform allergy skin
testing and other diagnostic tests.
Studies show that patients who are treated by an allergist/immunologist are better able to
manage allergy and asthma symptoms and asthmatic patients managed by an allergist-
immunologist have less hospitalizations, doctor visits, emergency room visits and lost days of
work or school.