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Allergist

Immunologists as they are also called, allergists are physicians who specialize in diagnosing and treating any disease relating to the immune system of the body. Allergists may also specialize in any particular type of allergy like food allergy or may specialize in treating a particular age group such as adults or children. Allergists who treat children are called pediatric allergists. The general conditions treated by allergists are asthma, eczema, insect bites and allergies due to environmental pollution or food. Allergies arise due to various reasons in our day to day life and allergists will be the right persons to identify them.


  • Allergist diagnoses, reaches the root cause of the problem and identifies the reason for the allergy.
  • He will ask for a few tests that will help identifying the cause for the allergy. The tests can include either blood tests or skin tests.
  • Depending on the test results, the reason for the allergy is pinpointed and you will be asked to avoid those allergy-causing agents.
  • Depending on the type of allergy and taking into account the cause of the allergy, medications are prescribed.
  • In worse cases, if the allergy refuses to ease off even after medications, injections are given to ease off the allergy.

Choose the right allergist

  • Ensure that the allergist is a qualified physician who has completed medical school and specialized in pediatrics (in case of children) or internal medicine. He should have completed a specialization in allergic diseases for a period of at least two years.
  • The allergist should have a certification from the American board of allergy and immunology.
  • Ask your family physician to recommend the right allergist and check on the type of medication he will use for you.
  • Ensure he has the right experience to handle the type of problem you or your child is facing.

Modern day innovations have made it easy for people who have to undergo allergy treatments. Medications of the recent days no longer give the patient a drugged feeling as they used to earlier thereby imparting the freedom to carry on with their usual routine. New immunotherapy systems are replacing the traditional ones are both easy to use and highly effective.

Immunologist

An Immunologist can be described as a medical specialist trained to prevent, diagnose, manage and treat diseases that result from abnormalities of the immune system. Immunologists are highly qualified and trained to treat immune system disorders such as allergies, asthma, inherited immunodeficiency diseases and autoimmune diseases. Clinical immunologists and allergy specialists undergo similar training as with any other medical specialists. After completion of four years of premedical education at a college or university, they receive at least four years of medical school education. After receiving general training in internal medicine, they receive additional training in immunology and allergy areas. Immunologists are involved in a gamut of work areas, in hospitals, private practice, diagnostic immunology laboratories, research centers and industrial houses. The medical immunologist or allergy specialist primarily identifies and treats the diseases that result from abnormalities of the immune system.


  • Patients are referred by a general physician for further diagnosis, confirmation and management of clinical disorders of the immune system.
  • Patients seeking the advice of an immunologist for education regarding disorders of the immune system.
  • Patients suffering from life threatening allergies such as anaphylaxis.
  • When food or occupational allergy is suspected, the patient is referred to an immunologist.
  • When a physician contemplates immunotherapy for treatment of allergic diseases, the patient is sent to the immunologist.
  • Patients suffering from asthma exhibiting continuing poor control despite regular use of asthma medication.
  • Patients with unexplained inflammation such as fevers of unknown origin, unexplained fevers, weight loss.
  • For investigation of recurrent or unusual opportunistic infections.


Dermatitis

Dermatitis is a skin condition characterized by inflammation or localized rash. This is usually caused due to an allergy or irritant. The affected area becomes red and tender and develops crusts, blisters or crusts. The affected skin may develop fluid-filled bumps or fissures. Contact dermatitis occurs when the skin comes into contact with a substance that triggers off an allergy or irritation. Substances that typically cause dermatitis are fragrances in detergents, laundry soap, industrial chemicals, perfumes, hair dyes, nickel jewelry, certain foods and plants. Poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac are common plant allergens. Allergic dermatitis is a condition where the body's immune system overreacts to a foreign body and produces antibodies. It results in itchy rash. Contact dermatitis is a condition resulting from contact with a substance that causes damage to your skin. Persons suffering from eczema are more susceptible to contact dermatitis. Creams containing hydrocortisone can help in alleviating the symptoms of contact dermatitis. Irritant contact dermatitis is caused due to the direct effect of an irritant substance on the skin. These substances may be found at home or at the work place or garden. Typically allergic contact dermatitis is easily noticed within 48 - 72 hours. Allergic contact dermatitis is a result of hypersensitive skin reacting to a particular substance. Atopic dermatitis is a result of an allergic condition. It is more common in families with allergies to hay fever, asthma and history of sensitive skin. When there is accumulation of fluid beneath your skin tissues, it leads to statis dermatitis. This type of skin condition can arise from various chronic conditions. Seborrheic dermatitis occurs on the scalp and may need to be treated with shampoos containing salicylic acid or ketoconazole. Use of hydrocortisone creams and lotions may also give relief. This condition is known as dandruff. It can affect the face and chest along with creases of the limbs.


Skin tests or patch tests help in clarifying the type of dermatitis. The physician must rule out eczema or psoriasis before looking for possible causes of dermatitis. A patch test can help in narrowing down the substance that triggers the dermatitis so that exposure can be avoided. Small areas of the skin are subjected to different allergens. This patch of skin is then covered and the reactions are noted after 2 days. Any swelling or rash is indicative of allergy towards that particular substance. Since there is no definite cure for atopic dermatitis, the physician will suggest treatment options based on the pattern, duration and severity of the condition. Simple ways of tackling dermatitis:


  • Showering or bathing in lukewarm water
  • Wearing smooth and soft clothes preferably made of natural fibers
  • Applying emollients. It is essential to keep your skin well moisturized. This can reduce the number of flare-ups.
  • Applying topical steroids on affected patches
  • Antihistamines can help in reducing irritation and itching
  • Calamine lotion may relieve itching
  • Wet wraps an help in cooling and moisturizing the skin and protecting it from damage due to scratching.

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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: August 23, 2019