Does it really matter who your allergist is?

Posted on: Fri, 08/24/2007 - 5:03am
temple's picture
Joined: 03/10/2007 - 09:00

We currently use a *local* allergist who we really like, but are lucky enough to live in the Baltimore/Washington area where we have access to some of the *top* national allergists around.

Does it really matter who your allergist is? Does is gain us anything to go to one of the *top* doctors?

I like the fact that we never have to wait more than a day or two when I need to schedule an appointment (unless Vincent's had a reaction and they want to see us ASAP) and that whenever I've called the *on call* doctor they've gotten back to me within minutes.

Please help me weigh out keeping our current allergist vs. going to a *top* allergist (by the way, our allergist was rated as one of the top pediatric allergist in the area, just not a *top* allergist nationwide.

Thanks [img][/img]

Posted on: Fri, 08/24/2007 - 1:58pm
Chicago's picture
Joined: 04/21/2001 - 09:00

"Top" ...well I don't know, but it was very refreshing to get one that really knew what he was talking about after a few that gave me rubbish (like the one that honestly told me dd had pnut allergy because I has used a peanut oil rub while nursing - I did not nurse at all or the one that only wanted to put dd thru environmental tests "in case we ever wanted to get a dog" even though she had not had any symptoms).
"Top" is probably a combo of what they know and what you know.
I would just get someone you and your child are comfortable with and continue to educate yourself.

Posted on: Fri, 08/24/2007 - 10:44pm
Going Nuts's picture
Joined: 10/04/2001 - 09:00

I live in the NYC area, and also have access to some of the Grand Poobahs of allergy. I've really never felt the need to go see them.
We have a local allergist (not really local anymore, because we moved 10 years ago but still travel to see him!), and while he wasn't great with the initial diagnosis, he's been great since. My kids both love him; at 13 and almost 17 they're not easily impressed, KWIM? He communicates very well with them, and when he tells them something, they listen.
If anything were to drastically change, i.e., son developing new allergies or the existing allergies becoming unmanageable, I would go to Mt. Sinai. The only thing that has made me think twice about not making use of this resource that is so accessible to us is that perhaps any information they gleaned from my son could be put to good research use. But so far, I agree - as long as they are competent and it works for your family, it doesn't really matter.

Posted on: Fri, 08/24/2007 - 11:11pm
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Of course it matters who your allergist is. It does not, however, matter how many papers they have had published or whether they are nationally well-known. It simply matters that you are comfortable with them and believe they are well-informed. It sounds like you are very happy with yours, so keep him. If you would really like to see one of the "top" allergists, go ahead and make an appointment for a one-time visit (kind of a second-opinion, Q&A type visit). But you will probably still want to keep yuor current doctor.

Posted on: Sat, 08/25/2007 - 12:36am
Peg541's picture
Joined: 12/29/2002 - 09:00

We used the home grown allergist in our neighborhood, three times a week for allergy shots for seven years it had to be close by.
Recently we saw the grand poobah allergist at Children's Hospital and I WISH we had seen him earlier. He was so knowledgable, so wonderfully friendly and informative. I think it would have made a world of difference if we had seen him early on.

Posted on: Wed, 09/05/2007 - 3:54am
Corvallis Mom's picture
Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

Honestly, I agree with the need to have someone who truly [i]GETS IT[/i] about food allergies. Particularly about the risks of very tiny exposures, and how that translates into day-to-day difficulties.
You can get some real turkeys who have very fine looking resumes, however. [img][/img]
Someone who is intelligent and willing to learn what they don't know can actually be better than an allergist who 'knows everything' and has a poor rapport with patients. We've been fortunate to have three very excellent allergists-- all with specialty in pediatric allergies. However-- the first one was so terribly overworked by a huge patient load that she didn't even really [i]know[/i] us. The second was so close to retirement that he wasn't as current on research as we liked, but he lived with LTFA every day-- a huge bonus. The third was a hot-shot who initially knew everything. He's improved dramatically with parenting. [img][/img] (Nothing like your own kids to make you realize just how little you know.) He treats us as [i]partners[/i] in managing our daughter's care, is current on research, and interacts with us as a family. This is, in my estimation, the ideal to shoot for.

Posted on: Wed, 09/05/2007 - 6:47am
solarflare's picture
Joined: 02/07/2002 - 09:00

We go to the one big allergy practice in the area. We're happy with our doctor.

Posted on: Mon, 09/17/2007 - 9:46pm
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Quote:Originally posted by Corvallis Mom:
[b]You can get some real turkeys who have very fine looking resumes, however. [img][/img]
Someone who is intelligent and willing to learn what they don't know can actually be better than an allergist who 'knows everything' and has a poor rapport with patients. [/b]
Tell me about it. I took my children to a very prominent and "accomplished" allergist at a very prominent facility (renowned?) in "my area" and was aghast at the response my husband and I got. It was all too cliche'. If I wanted an attitude of disbelief, I could have easily gotten that from my school district at the time. >>>>Without the big co-pay, long----LONG wait, and traffic. Not to mention the bother of validating excessive parking fees.
First of a long litany of dissapointments was the snitty "He's probably not allergic to peanuts anymore since he hasn't had a major reaction recently. We'll get a blood test." (Off to another hour or so wait for the draw and results---If you weren't going to accept the medical records, and made me fill out the long "pre-visit" history, think ya could have asked for that in advance of the visit?)
It just told me they assumed parents couldn't be vigilant enough to the point of managing their children's allergies without "major" reactions in the recent past. Make sense?
Sure enough, the blood test came back just as high, if not higher, than the previous.
I probably wouldn't have felt as negatively towards the blood test if it hadn't been preceeded by the comment, YK?
I'm still miffed. [i]And I still love our pediatrician[/i]. No advice, just personally, but that trip didn't reveal any gems of information *our* ped hadn't already imparted without an attitude. I guess I'm lucky in that my pediatrician has an extensive background, and attitude of learning, and a humanitarian demeanor.

Posted on: Wed, 03/12/2008 - 1:49pm
mom2sam's picture
Joined: 03/04/2008 - 19:58

Frequently a physician listed as "top" either in their region or nationwide, could be part of a marketing thing. If they are apart of an affiliation, like some membership pretaining to their profession, they could get nominations w/i that.
So, I would go with your gut. If you feel comfortable & you feel your Dr answers all your Qs, that your Dr is thorough, then I would stick with them.
Now I do think there is a big difference b/t labeled "top" vs. having publications/research performed in an area that you may need more info on.
If you are looking for that, you can always go to
[url=""][/url] and type in your dr, to see what publications they have. That really may not be that helpful, but IMO I am more interested in something published then just the generic "top" IYKWIM! ;)

Posted on: Wed, 03/19/2008 - 5:36am
pfmom2's picture
Joined: 01/22/2006 - 09:00

I think one that is current with what is going on in the "allergy" situation now is important. One that listens and even if your child is not "textbook" case and by that I mean, listens to the parents and does not discount what we see happening.
The one doctor we saw had great bedside manner, child loved this doctor, but too many times of discounting what a parent tells them (as if we are making it up, like one poster said, get enough of that from the school district), I think also counts.
Basically, you need one that is current, listens, doesn't discount what you say, and has a great bed-side manner. Yep it matters! :)

Posted on: Fri, 03/21/2008 - 11:26am
Kanji's picture
Joined: 01/30/2008 - 16:26

I agree with pfmom. My definition of a good allergist:
o really gets food allergies
o keeps up with new developments
o listens to your questions, has time and knowledge to answer
o does not discount your concerns or new symptoms out of hand
o you need to feel comfortable with him/her
o willing to work with you on an allergy action plan
o willing to explain, in great detail not just what an Epipen is used for, but how to use it (lay down, stand up, what if breathing problems, what if no relief in 10 minutes)
o willing to explain the various symptoms of anaphylaxis
After 3 years of food allergies, eczema, recent asthma and now dermatographia, I think we have found an allergist that gets it!

Peanut Free Store

More Articles

You already know that if you or your child has a peanut allergy you need to avoid peanut butter. Some...

There are many reasons why you may want to substitute almond flour for wheat flour in recipes. Of course, if you have a...

Are you looking for peanut-free candies as a special treat for a child with...

Do you have a child with peanut allergies and an upcoming birthday? Perhaps you'd like to bake a...

Most nut butters provide all the same benefits: an easy sandwich spread, a great dip for veggies, a fun addition to a smoothie. But not...