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ACAAI > Patients & Public > Allergies > Allergy Treatment

Choosing an Allergist

Source:, Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA)

People with asthma or allergies need to see a doctor who’s an expert or specialist in treating asthma and allergies. Allergists are experts in treating asthma and allergies.

My daughter, Fiona, has had asthma since she was 3. Her pediatrician had been able to control her asthma symptoms with medicine and reducing her dust mite exposure by removing the wall-to-wall carpeting in our home. But when Fiona started playing soccer at age 12, she developed severe asthma symptoms. The pediatrician referred her to an asthma and allergy specialist, an allergist, who diagnosed a ragweed allergy. Once she started treatment for the allergy, Fiona was able to breathe easier. She can now run up and down the soccer field without coughing and wheezing. – Colleen, Fiona’s mom

When should I see an allergist?

If you need skin testing to find out what you are allergic to, you need to see an allergist. An allergist can also give allergy shots to help relieve your asthma and allergy symptoms. Also, if your symptoms aren’t under control or if they are severe, that’s when to see an allergist.

Your asthma or allergies are probably not under control if:

  • Your symptoms interfere with daily activities, wake you up at night, or cause you to miss school or work
  • You cough or wheeze during exercise, other physical activities or in your regular daily routine
  • You’ve needed emergency treatment for your allergies or asthma

What is asthma?

Asthma is a lung disease that makes it hard to breathe at times. When people with asthma come into contact with something they are allergic to (called an allergen) or sensitive to (called an irritant), their airways become narrower. That makes it harder for air to get to their lungs.

What is an allergy?

An allergy occurs when you react to things like cats or pollen that do not affect most people. If you come into contact with something you are allergic to (called an allergen) you may have symptoms such as itching or sneezing. This is called an allergic reaction.

How can I find an allergist?

Find certified allergists near you

Do health insurance plans cover treatment by an allergist?

Most health insurance plans cover treatment by an allergist. To find out more about your plan, read the health care policy, call the health care plan, or talk to someone in your company’s human resource department.

Questions you may want to ask:

  • Will I need a referral from my doctor to see an allergist?
  • Can I continue to see an allergist after asthma or allergies have been diagnosed?
  • What asthma or allergy-testing does my plan cover?
  • What treatments, such as allergy shots, are covered?
  • Does my insurance cover patient education or special services for my allergies?
  • What medicines are covered?
  • What medical devices like spacers, peak flow meters, and nebulizers are covered?
  • Is there a limit on the number of visits and how often I see the allergist?

Allergy Relief Test

If you or your child has allergies, use the Allergy Relief Self-Test to review your symptoms and see if you need to find relief.

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Anaphylaxis Information

Anaphylaxis is a rare but severe allergic reaction that can be deadly. Learn more about the symptoms and emergency treatment for this dangerous condition.

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Find an Allergist

An allergist is a doctor who has the specialized training and experience to find out what causes your allergies, prevent and treat symptoms, and help keep them under control. Find an allergist in your zip code and find relief.

Learn More »