Why see an allergist?

Who is an Allergist?

An allergist has specialized training in the diagnosis and treatment of allergic conditions including asthma, sinusitis, seasonal allergies, food allergies, eosinophilic esophagitis, alpha-gal sensitivity, atopic and contact dermatitis, anaphylaxis and many disorders of the immune system.

In the United States, becoming an allergist/immunologist requires at least an additional nine years of training beyond a bachelor’s degree.

After completing medical school, physicians undergo 3-4 years of training in internal medicine and/or pediatrics and pass the exam of either the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) or the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP).

To specialize in Allergy/Immunology, it is next necessary for Board Certified internists and pediatricians to complete an additional two years of study, called a Fellowship, in an accredited allergy/immunology training program. (Dr. Wolf trained with Dr. Phil Lieberman, a renowned allergist, in Memphis, Tennessee.) They are then qualified to sit for the American Board of Allergy and Immunology (ABAI) certification exam. This board certification demonstrates that the Allergist/Immunologist has the knowledge, skills, and experience to provide high quality care and superior clinical outcomes for patients with allergic and immunologic conditions.

For more information on the importance of seeing a Board-Certified Allergist, please visit:



When to go see an Allergist?

Often, the symptoms of asthma or allergies develop gradually over time.
Allergy sufferers may become used to frequent symptoms such as sneezing, nasal congestion or wheezing. With the help of an allergist, these symptoms usually can be prevented or controlled with major improvement in quality of life.

Effectively controlling asthma and allergies requires planning, skill and patience. The allergist, with his or her specialized training can develop a treatment plan for your individual condition. The goal will be to enable you to lead a life that is as normal and symptom-free as possible.

A visit to the allergist might include:

  • Allergy testing. The allergist will usually perform tests to determine what allergens are involved.
  • Prevention education. The most effective approach to treating asthma or allergies is to avoid the factors that trigger the condition in the first place.
  • Even when it is not possible to completely avoid allergens, an allergist can help you decrease exposure to allergens.
  • Medication prescriptions. A number of new and effective medications are available to treat both asthma and allergies.
  • Immunotherapy can be given as allergy shots or sublingual tablets.
  • Allergy shots are given to patients every week or two and contain some or all of the allergens that cause their allergy problems. Gradually the injections get stronger and stronger. In most cases, the allergy problems get less and less over time.
  • Sublingual immunotherapy is only available to ragweed, grass pollens and dust mites. These tablets are taken daily at home. However, the first dose is taken at the allergist’s office. Allergies improve over time while on the immunotherapy.

You should see an allergist if:

  • Your allergies are causing symptoms such as chronic sinus infections, nasal congestion or difficulty breathing.
  • You experience hay fever or other allergy symptoms several months out of the year.
  • Antihistamines and over-the-counter medications do not control your allergy symptoms or create unacceptable side effects, such as drowsiness.
  • Your asthma or allergies are interfering with your ability to carry on day-to-day activities.
  • Your asthma or allergies decrease the quality of your life
  • You are experiencing warning signs of serious asthma such as:
  • You sometimes have to struggle to catch your breath.
  • You often wheeze or cough, especially at night or after exercise.
  • You are frequently short of breath or feel tightness in your chest.
  • You have previously been diagnosed with asthma, and you have frequent asthma attacks even though you are taking asthma medication.