Nature of the work
Allergy was established as a unique medical
specialty in 2001, and provides both active intervention and
allergen avoidance for millions of people who suffer allergic
diseases in the UK. Allergic disorders are wide ranging, and caused
by the interaction of antigen (allergen) with inappropriately
produced specific immunoglobulin E. Disorders are becoming more
widespread, and specialists increasingly deal with food allergy,
drug allergy and anaphylaxis, as well as more historically common
allergies such as asthma.
Working in allergy
Trained allergists provide a comprehensive
specialist allergy service, with expertise in many complex areas.
They require skills specific to allergy, but also some knowledge of
other specialties, particularly respiratory medicine, dermatology,
ENT (ear, nose and throat) and paediatrics. Specialists deal with
everything from mild to life-threatening disorders.
There has been a substantial increase in
allergic disorders in the last two decades, including a rise in
co-morbidity (multiple expressions of allergy in the same patient)
and the complexity and severity of diseases. This has created a
greater need for allergists.
Allergists are likely to carry out procedures
and interventions in the following areas:
- Dermatology (eczema, urticaria and contact dermatitis).
- ENT (evaluation and management of the upper respiratory
- Respiratory medicine (asthma, extrinsic allergic alveolitis and
occupational lung disease).
- Paediatrics (milestones, infant food allergy and substitute
formulas, infant rhinitis, eczema and asthma).
- Immunology (vasculitis and immunoglobulin deficiency).
- Food allergy (diagnosis: skin prick test and challenge, dietary
- Drug allergy (diagnosis: skin prick test and challenge,
treatment - desensitisation).
- Rhinoconjunctivitis (diagnosis – skin prick test, treatment –
In addition, they will spend time in a
diagnostic laboratory becoming acquainted with the indications,
methods and limitations of relevant diagnostic tests such as
Associated sub specialties
Allergists require expertise specific to
allergy, but also some knowledge of a number of other specialties,
- Respiratory medicine.
- ENT (ear, nose and throat).
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