What is a clinical immunologist?

A clinical immunologist is a doctor who specialises in diseases that affect the immune system.

What is the immune system?

The immune system is involved in defending the body from infection.

What medical conditions do immunologists treat?

Clinical immunologists treat all allergic and autoimmune conditions, including:

  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Scleroderma
  • Raynaud’s disease
  • CREST syndrome
  • Sjogrens syndrome
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Other arthritis
  • Allergy
  • Urticaria
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome

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What treatments do immunologists provide?

Clinical immunologists provide treatment for the many allergic and autoimmune problems people may suffer generally involves the adminstration of medications. These may include steroids or other immunosuppressant medications.

What to expect at your first visit with an immunologist

History

Your clinical immunologist will focus on your current symptoms, then ask about prior symptoms. They may also ask you about:

  • Previous treatments and their efficacy is also very important
  • Other medical problems
  • Current medications
  • Allergies
  • Family and social history

Examination

Your clinical immunologist will begin with a general examination and will then focus on the area causing you most trouble. This will vary depending on the clinical presentation.

Training and qualifications

Entry into immunology training is usually very competitive. Once selected 4 years of specialty training follows.

Trainees work and operate under the supervision of a consultant / specialist immunologist.

Registrars must sit examinations, manage inpatients and outpatients and are encouraged to conduct research before eventually reaching specialty level.

Specialty areas of interest

  • Paediatric immunology
  • Allergy

Associated tests

  • Blood tests particularly for autoantibodies
  • Biopsy
  • Skin prick testing for allergy

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This article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. If in doubt, HealthEngine recommends consulting with a registered health practitioner.