Choosing an Allergist

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.

On this page

Why should I see an allergist?

If allergies or asthma are holding you back, it’s time to take control. See an allergist for relief and expert care, such as skin testing, allergy shots or medication.

We came in and described Taylor's symptoms—congestion, wheezing and difficulty breathing—and they gave us the appropriate things we needed to do to avoid that…I definitely think [her regular treatment] has freed her up and changed her life for the better."

Taylor’s mom

How can I find an allergist?

Use the Find an Allergist tool to find expert care.

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 provider or talk to someone in your company’s human resources department.

Here are some 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 or biologics, 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?

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 an important time 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.

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

Do you suspect your child has an allergy? 

The symptoms could be signs of a serious issue. Don’t delay! Find an allergist today. No parent wants to see their child suffer. If your son or daughter is struggling, take control of the situation and consult an allergist. 

While pediatricians are well-trained and have knowledge about allergic disease, the evidence indicates that specialized training in allergy disease matters a great deal.

According to the World Allergy Organization and others, children with allergies are better off being seen by an allergy specialist. Children who don’t see an allergist for their allergy care may be overprescribed oral steroids and other risky therapies. They may not get accurate diagnoses of their specific allergic triggers.

Children need the type of specialized care provided by an allergist to ensure that allergic problems are properly diagnosed and treated. Pediatric allergists have a broad perspective on how allergies affect the lives of children directly and indirectly. In addition to their physical symptoms, youngsters with allergies might have psychological problems, sleeping difficulties, academic troubles and conflicts with peers.

Allergists can help young people lead healthier lives, which is pretty special indeed.

How can I find a pediatric allergist?

It is important to know that almost all ACAAI member allergists are trained in pediatric allergy, even if they do not use the term “pediatric allergist.” Board-certified allergists have completed years of training to learn how to prevent, diagnose and treat allergies and immunologic disorders in children of all ages, including asthma, allergic rhinitis (also known as hay fever), hives, eye allergies, eczema, and chronic sinus infections.

Due to their training and experience, allergists are experts at working with kids who suffer from allergies. This is important for a variety of reasons. Allergies can make a child feel miserable, and they may be sick of adults poking and prodding them, wiping their noses, or asking them what’s wrong. An allergist can set your child at ease during their examination and talk to them (and you) about the details of their symptoms.

Use the Find an Allergist tool to find expert care near you for your child’s allergies or asthma.

How can an allergist help my child?

An allergist can help children and families put plans in place to deal with allergy and asthma issues at home, school, camp and other places. 

For example, if your child has asthma, they might be required to go to the school nurse to get their inhaler before every gym class. If so, they may be skipping gym class and losing out on exercise that could actually reduce their asthma symptoms. An allergist can help you work on the best asthma management plan for school. 

If your child has food allergies, an allergist is trained to treat the symptoms and can help parents learn how to read food labels and how to prepare safe meals for their family.

If your child has life-threatening allergies, your allergist can prescribe an emergency action plan to teach your family how to react quickly and correctly if your child accidentally ingests an allergen. They might also inquire about your child’s home life and sleeping areas to determine if changes in the environment, such as reducing exposure to pet dander or dust mites, could help reduce your child’s allergic symptoms.