What is an allergy and immunology specialist or allergist?
An allergy and immunology specialist, or allergist, is a medical doctor with special training and skills in diagnosing and treating allergies and diseases of the immune system.
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 he has allergies. This includes food allergies, eczema, asthma, moderate to severe hay fever, allergic eye diseases, hives, anaphylaxis and non-food allergies – for example, to medications, insects or latex.
Allergy specialists might do tests like skin-prick tests, blood tests or oral food challenges to help diagnose allergies.
Allergy specialist also prescribe treatment for children diagnosed with allergies. For children diagnosed with significant, persistent allergies to house dust mites, insect stings or grass pollen, this might include immunotherapy.
To see an allergy and immunology 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 allergist
Before seeing the allergy and immunology specialist, it’s a good idea to find out about the following things:
- Why you’re going to the specialist: 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? It might be expensive, so check whether you can get money back from Medicare or private health insurance or whether you can get some other kind of financial help.
- Locations: find out where you have to go to see the allergist – for example, a public or private hospital, or consulting rooms. You might have to travel further than you expect, depending on your child’s needs.
You can ask your GP these and any other questions before you go to the allergy and immunology specialist. You could also ask the allergy and immunology specialist’s clinic when you make the appointment. It’s a good idea to write down your questions, so you don’t forget.