An allergist/immunologist will combine an in-depth interview, environmental exposure history, and physical examination together with specific laboratory tests to help arrive at a diagnosis. Common tests performed in an allergist’s office includes allergen skin testing and spirometry, which is a test to measure lung function. A board certified allergist will provide individualized treatment plans focusing on environmental avoidance measures and prevention in addition to medical treatment. Allergists are especially recognized for being the expert provider of allergen immunotherapy (allergy shots and sublingual drops). Allergen immunotherapy is the only active intervention that can alleviate allergy or asthma symptoms without the use of medications.
Immunotherapy treatment (allergy shots) is based on the concept that the immune system can be desensitized to specific allergens that trigger allergy symptoms. These symptoms may be caused by allergic respiratory conditions such as allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and asthma. While common allergy medications often control symptoms; if you stop taking the medication(s), your allergy symptoms return shortly afterward. Allergy shots can potentially lead to lasting remission of allergy symptoms, and it may play a preventive role in terms of development of asthma and new allergies.