Allergies can often involve many bodily systems – from your immune system and your lungs, to eye health and dermatology, you may end up seeing a wide range of healthcare providers when it comes to your allergy care journey.
While each provider has their own specialty, a board-certified allergist should always be at the center of your allergic care. We’ll go over what exactly this certification means, as well as what makes an allergist different from other healthcare providers.
What is Board Certification?
Becoming a board-certified allergist is an extremely demanding process. Allergists must go through medical school, then a three or four-year residency. They must then pass a certification exam which is provided by either the American Board of Pediatrics or the American Board of Internal Medicine.
Following this, they must spend a few more years training in a properly accredited allergy and immunology program. Once completed, they take another exam given by the American Board of Allergy and Immunology. Only once this step is complete can a doctor be called a board-certified allergist.
In many cases, this process can take nine or ten years after they already have a bachelor’s degree.
Why Do Only Some Doctors Have Board Certification?
When doctors begin to practice, they must acquire a license. A doctor with a license is allowed to prescribe medications and diagnose conditions. Certifications function differently. They are a voluntary additional accomplishment that ensures you that a healthcare provider is trained at the highest level.
Healthcare providers who seek board certification go above and beyond the usual requirements for practicing medicine, and are therefore able to provide a higher level of specialized care. Whether you’re dealing with seasonal summer or fall allergies, or a difficult food allergy you can’t identify, a board-certified allergist can help you hone in on how to move forward.
What Are the Practical Differences I May Notice?
Visiting a board-certified allergist may not seem too different initially. After all, both will have normal doctor’s offices and be professional healthcare providers who have trained for years to provide you with care. In many cases, the differences will be in the details.
Due to their increased dedication to one medical subspecialty, board-certified doctors may have better equipment or tools to help diagnose or treat your condition. This can help streamline the diagnosis and treatment process to finding relief.
Additionally, board-certified allergists will have demonstrated their knowledge of the field at a level beyond average, meaning that they will have more information at their disposal to use to help you get better. Board-certified allergists have continued education opportunities and must stay up-to-date on the latest developments in the allergy fields through memberships with the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) and the American College of Allergy Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI). This means they are armed and ready to help you when you need relief from your allergies.
Why Is Board Certification So Important for Allergies?
Board certification is naturally a good thing to look for in any doctor, but why is it especially important for an allergist? The reason has to do with how various and complex allergies are compared to many other conditions.
When you have allergies, the issues relate to your immune system, which can affect all of your organs and body parts. The immune system is distributed through your body in a way that is more complex than almost any other system. While other specialists may study the kidneys or heart, allergists need a thorough understanding of how the immune system affects the functioning of the entire body.
Board certification ensures that your allergist will have a specially focused set of knowledge, tools and skills to do their best to help you find relief.
Final Thoughts on Board-Certified Allergists
If you are going to see an allergist, board-certified is the way to go. This will let you know that you are dealing with an expert who knows what you are up against and has likely seen your symptoms before. Especially for those with less common or food allergies, board certification can make a big difference.
Each of our board-certified allergists at Charleston Allergy & Asthma is dedicated to providing exceptional care and identifying the root cause of your allergy symptoms. If you’re searching for an allergist in the Lowcountry, schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified allergists.