Pediatricians, general practitioners, internists, allergists and pulmonologists can all treat asthma and allergies.
Allergists or immunologists are internists and pediatricians, who have additional training in the immune system and special skills in evaluating and treating asthma and allergies.
They become board certified when they pass an examination in the specialty area of allergy and immunology. Because allergists tend to see more allergic and asthmatic people than other kinds of doctors, they are more experienced in treating them.
This is especially important because about 90 percent of children and 50 percent of adults with asthma have allergies that trigger asthma symptoms. Identifying and learning to control these allergies can be the key to better asthma control.
Your primary care physician may refer you to an allergist to test you for allergies and to get your asthma under better control. Once your asthma and allergies are better controlled, you can expect to visit your allergist less often as he or she works with your primary care physician to keep your asthma in check.
What Can I Expect from my Asthma and Allergy Treatment?
If you are carefully following your doctor's instructions and you are still experiencing the following problems, you may need to seek a second opinion.
With proper medical treatment, your asthma and allergy symptoms should not:
Interfere with daily activities.
Wake you up at night
Cause you to miss school or work
Cause you to wheeze during strenuous physical activities
Send you to the emergency room.
How Can I Find a Professionally Trained Allergist?
You can start by looking in the white pages of your phone book for your local medical society. They are usually listed as (city name) Medical Society.
You can also look in the Yellow Pages of your phone book under Physicians. The physicians will be listed under their specialty area, such as "Allergy & Immunology." Choose an allergist that is "Board Certified."
You can also write, call or visit the web sites of the following organizations:
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology611 East Wells StreetMilwaukee, WI 53202414-272-6071 Web site: www.aaaai.org American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology85 W. Algonquin Road, Suite 550Arlington, IL 60005800-842-7777 Web site: www.acaai.org
SOURCE: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care. First created 1995; fully updated 1998; most recently updated 2005.
© Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) Editorial Board