What is an allergy and immunology specialist or allergist?
An allergy and immunology specialist is a medical doctor with special training and skills in diagnosing and treating allergies and diseases of the immune system.
Allergy and immunology specialists are sometimes called allergists or allergy specialists.
If your child has health or development concerns, health professionals like allergists are there to care for your child and help you understand your child’s condition and treatment. With the support and expertise of these professionals, you can help your child thrive.
Why your child might see an allergy specialist
Your child might need to see an allergy specialist if it looks like your child has allergies. This includes food allergies, eczema, asthma, moderate to severe hay fever, allergic eye diseases, hives, anaphylaxis and non-food allergies to things like medications, insects or latex.
Allergy specialists also care for patients with immune system problems that cause frequent and severe infections.
Allergy specialists might do tests like skin-prick tests, blood tests or oral food challenges to help diagnose allergies.
Allergy specialists also prescribe treatment for children diagnosed with allergies. For children diagnosed with significant and persistent allergies to house dust mites, insect stings or grass pollen, this might include immunotherapy.
To see an allergy specialist, you need a referral from your GP. Your GP can help you find a specialist who’s right for your child.
Before going to an allergy specialist
Before seeing an allergy and immunology specialist, it’s a good idea to find out about things like the following:
- Why you’re going: talk with your GP about why your child needs to see an allergist.
- Appointments: do you need to make the appointment, or will the GP make it for you?
- Waiting lists: how long before you can get an appointment to see the allergist?
- Is there anything you can do while you’re waiting for the appointment? For example, can your child start some treatment or therapy?
- Costs: how much will the appointment with the allergist cost? Check whether you can get money back from Medicare or private health insurance.
- Locations: find out where you have to go to see the allergist – for example, public hospital, private hospital or consulting rooms.
You can ask your GP these and any other questions before you go to the allergy specialist. You could also ask the allergy specialist’s clinic when you make the appointment. It’s a good idea to write down your questions, so you don’t forget.