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.
Why your child might see an allergy specialist
Your child might need to see an allergy specialist if it looks like he has allergies including food allergies, eczema, asthma, moderate to severe hay fever, or severe and potentially life-threatening non-food allergies - for example, to medications, insects or latex.
Allergy specialists also diagnose and treat allergic eye diseases, hives, chronic cough and frequent colds or bronchitis.To see an allergy and immunology specialist, you need a referral from your GP. Your GP can help you decide about seeing an allergy and immunology specialist and help you find someone 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 specalist.
- Waiting lists: how long before you can get an appointment to see the specalist?
- Making an appointment: it might take you more than one phone call to make an appointment.
- Is there anything you can do while you're waiting to get the appointment?
- Costs: how much will the appointment with the allergy and immunology specialist cost? It might be expensive, so you could 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 allergy and immunology specialist - 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 might want to talk about these things and any other questions you have with your GP 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 any questions you have, so you don't forget.