Specialized care for immune system conditions

What are allergies?

Unlike a cold, allergies are not a condition that you just get over. Allergic disease can develop at any age, and heredity plays a key role in who will develop it. Symptoms of allergic disease result when your immune, system-the body's defense mechanism, reacts against harmful substances.

If you have allergies, your body identifies some substances, called allergens, as harmful. This might be dust, grass, cats or a million other things. These substances, harmless to most people, trigger allergic reactions within your immune system.

If you live with allergies, an allergist/immunologist can reduce symptoms and improve your quality of life. Studies show that people under the care of an allergist/immunologist also make fewer visits to emergency rooms and are better able to manage their allergies and asthma daily. 

What is an allergist/immunologist?

An allergist or immunologist (commonly referred to as an allergist) is a physician specially trained to diagnose, treat and manage allergies, asthma and immunologic disorders including primary immunodeficiency disorders. These conditions range from the very common to the very rare, spanning all ages and encompassing various organ systems.

In the United States, becoming an allergist/immunologist requires at least an additional nine years of training beyond a bachelor’s degree. After completing medical school and graduating with a medical degree, physicians undergo three years of training in internal medicine or pediatrics and pass the exam of either the American Board of Internal Medicine or the American Board of Pediatrics. Internists and pediatricians interested in becoming an allergist/ immunologist have at least an additional two years of study, called a fellowship, in an allergy or immunology training program.

According to the American of Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, once physicians have finished training, they must pass the exam of either the American Board of Pediatrics or the American Board of Internal Medicine. Internists or pediatricians who wish to focus on allergy/immunology then complete at least an additional two years of study, called a fellowship, in an allergy/immunology training program. Allergists/immunologists who are listed as ABAI-certified have successfully passed the certifying examination of the American Board of Allergy and Immunology after their fellowship.

For more information