Adult Allergy Specialists are physicians who deal with a wide range of disorders including anaphylaxis, asthma, rhinitis, nasal polyposis, urticaria and angioedema (including hereditary angioedema), eczema, and allergy to food, drugs, latex rubber and venom. They run immunotherapy clinics, anti-IgE clinics, transition clinics for adolescents with allergic disease and food and drug challenge clinics. They also have the expertise to exclude allergy as a diagnosis, allowing the patient to receive the drugs they need or to proceed with other appropriate investigations.
Adult allergists are expected to have a good knowledge of paediatric allergy and in some cases, adult allergists will also see children. However, because of the lack of allergy specialists, the majority of uncomplicated allergy cases are treated by organ-based specialists, including chest physicians, ENT specialists, dermatologists, immunologists and general paediatricians.
Allergy specialists undergo a long period of training to acquire the knowledge and experience needed to correctly diagnose and treat both IgE – and non- IgE mediated allergies.
In order to provide the best possible care, allergy services need to be designed around the needs of patients. A guide to the medical speciality of allergy and the service the speciality provides for patients can be found here. This guide has been written by an expert in the field of allergy and describes how allergy services should be delivered.
It is estimated that around 40% of children in the UK have some form of allergic disease. Over the years there has been a surge of interest in paediatric allergy, where the BSACI’s own paediatric membership has grown significantly.
The BSACI’s Paediatric Allergy Committee aim is to improve the care of children with allergies and to promote the development and practice of paediatric allergy. Its members are actively involved in the clinical care of children as well as in research and development of new methods of investigation and treatment of allergic disease. The Committee works with the Royal College of Paediatric and Child Health (RCPCH) to develop subspecialty training posts and supports the development of new consultant posts in paediatric allergy.
Clinical immunologists in the UK undertake a range of clinical and laboratory duties, but their core activities are in the clinical management of patients with primary immunodeficiency and allergy.
Clinical immunologists have specific training in allergy and provide clinical services for patients with various immunological disorders (infections, vasculitis, human immunodeficiency virus infection, transplantation, haematological malignancy) and, similar to allergists, manage both adults and children with a variety of disorders affecting many organ systems.
The clinical immunology curriculum and syllabus include the science and clinical management of all aspects of immunology, specifically including the immunology of allergy. Most immunologists hold joint membership of the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Pathologists by examination. Click here to view the Clinical immunology curriculum.
Click here to find out more about specialising in immunology as a career