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Career as an Allergists and Immunologist



Who is an Allergist/Immunologists?

An allergist / immunologist (commonly referred to as an allergist) is a physician specially trained to diagnose, treat and manage allergies, asthma and immunologic disorders including primary immunodeficiency disorders. These conditions range from the very common to the very rare, spanning all ages and encompassing various organ systems.


What does an Allergist/Immunologists do?

•Allergists and Immunologists diagnose, treat, and help prevent allergic diseases and disease processes affecting the immune system.

•Diagnose or treat allergic or immunologic conditions.

•Order or perform diagnostic tests such as skin pricks and intradermal, patch, or delayed hypersensitivity tests.

•Educate patients about diagnoses, prognoses, or treatments.

•Develop individualised treatment plans for patients, considering patient preferences, clinical data, or the risks and benefits of therapies.


Specialisations in Immunology?

•Cancer Immunology

•Allergy and Immunology

•Evolutionary immunology

•Immunology & blood transfusion

•Clinical Immunology

•Reproductive Immunology

•Microbiology Immunology

•Medical microbiology and immunology

•Diagnostic immunology


What types of conditions do an Allergist/Immunologist treat?

Allergist/immunologists may help treat the following immune-related conditions:

•Allergic rhinitis is an allergic reaction that causes inflammation in the nose and airways.

•Allergic conjunctivitis causes inflammation around the eyes when the person comes into contact with an allergen.

•Anaphylaxis refers to a severe, life threatening allergic reaction that can make breathing difficult or impossible and may cause low blood pressure and vomiting. Injectable epinephrine can help minimise these symptoms, but the person will require immediate medical attention.

•Asthma is a chronic condition that causes inflammation and excess mucus production in the airways, which can make breathing difficult. Other asthma symptoms include wheezing, coughing, and chest tightness.

•Atopic dermatitis is a type of eczema that causes a red, itchy skin rash. It occurs most frequently in individuals who have underlying allergies. In some cases, certain environmental or food triggers may aggravate it.

•Urticaria, or hives, refers to red, itchy welts that develop on areas of the skin following exposure to a food or medication allergen. The welts may also develop after contact with an environmental allergen, such as animal dander, or even as part of an autoimmune-like reaction.

•Eosinophilicoesophagitis occurs when a type of white blood cell called an eosinophil accumulates in the oesophagus (food pipe), resulting in chronic inflammation and tissue damage.

•Primary immunodeficiency diseases that occur when different types of immune cells or proteins malfunction or are missing.

•Auto-inflammatory syndromes, which cause spontaneous inflammation due to an overactive immune response.


Working Conditions of an Allergist/Immunologist:

In a typical work setting, allergists and immunologists:


INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS

•Have a very high level of social interaction. They interact with patients throughout the day.

•Communicate with others in person, on the telephone, and through e-mail on a daily basis. They also write letters and memos, but less frequently.

•Have a great amount of responsibility for the work done by nurses and assistants

•Have a great amount of responsibility for the health and safety of patients.

•Occasionally are placed in conflict situations where patients may be unpleasant or rude due to feeling poorly.

•Usually work as part of a team.


PHYSICAL WORK CONDITIONS

•Work indoors.

•Are exposed to the diseases and infections of patients on a daily basis.

•Come into close physical contact with patients.


WORK PERFORMANCE

•Must be very exact and accurate when performing the job. Errors can impact patients' health.

•Repeat the same mental and physical tasks.

•Make decisions on a daily basis that substantially impact patients and their families.

•Make nearly all their decisions and set their daily tasks and goals independently.

•Work in a moderately competitive, stressful atmosphere where they must meet daily deadlines.


What is the workplace of an Immunologist like?

Immunologists in the medical field are responsible for diagnosing and treating human patients with immunological disorders. They spend most of their time either in the laboratory conducting research to develop new therapies or diagnostic techniques, or in clinics discussing patient treatment strategies. They work in hospitals, medical research facilities, or in their own private practice.

Research immunologists employed by universities work in life science departments or divisions conducting research. They can also work as lecturers, teaching students about Immunology while still conducting their own research.


Knowledge Areas to be Acquired

Medicine and Dentistry—Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.


Biology—Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.


Customer and Personal Service—Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.


Education and Training—Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.


Psychology—Knowledge of human behaviour and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioural and affective disorders.


English Language—Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.


Therapy and Counselling—Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counselling and guidance.


Administration and Management—Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.


Mathematics—Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.


Computers and Electronics—Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.


Skills-

Learning New Things—Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

Reading—Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Making Decisions—Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Listening—Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Solving Complex Problems—Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Monitoring Performance—Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organisations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Thinking Critically—Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Being Aware of Others—Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

Speaking—Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Writing—Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.


A Typical Workday

On a daily basis, Allergists and Immunologists prescribe medication such as antihistamines, antibiotics, and nasal, oral, topical, or inhaled glucocorticosteroids. They diagnose or treat allergic or immunologic conditions.

•A typical day for an Allergist and Immunologist will also include:

•Conduct physical examinations of patients.

•Document patients’ medical histories.

•Develop individualised treatment plans for patients, considering patient preferences, clinical data, or the risks and benefits of therapies.

•Educate patients about diagnoses, prognoses, or treatments.

•Interpret diagnostic test results to make appropriate differential diagnoses.


Personality Traits

They tend to be investigative individuals, which means they’re intellectual, introspective, and inquisitive. They are curious, methodical, rational, analytical, and logical. Some of them are also social, meaning they’re kind, generous, cooperative, patient, caring, helpful, empathetic, tactful, and friendly.


Education

Diploma Course:

•Diploma in Immunology & Blood transfusion


Bachelor Degree Courses:

•If anyone interested to pursue the bachelor degree, they have to qualify the 10+2 examination with Physics, Chemistry & Biology. Typically, it is a three-year duration programme.

•Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) in Immunology

•Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) in Micro-Biology & Immunology


Master Degree Courses: The duration of this course is two years. For admission in the master course, you have a bachelor’s degree in science subjects such as Biology & Chemistry.

•Master of Science (M.Sc) in Immunology

•Master of Science (M.Sc) in Medical Laboratory Technology (Microbiology & Immunology)


Post Graduate Diploma Course:

•Post Graduate Diploma in Medical Microbiology and Immunology

•Post Graduate Diploma in Clinical Virology and Immunology

Doctoral Degree Course:

•Doctor of Medicine in Clinical Immunology

•Doctor of Philosophy in Immunology

•Doctor of Philosophy in Cancer Immunology

•Doctor of Philosophy in Immunity & Infection

•Doctor of Philosophy in Allergy and Immunology


Job Outlook

All other physicians and surgeons, including immunologists, will see a projected job growth of 7.8% between 2018 and 2028. Medical immunologist job growth is expected to be driven by an increase in the elderly population and the number of physicians. An increase in job opportunities for research immunologists will be spurred by new discoveries concerning genes and their role within organisms, the expansion of the biotechnology industry and the growing need to find solutions to new diseases.


Salary

There are different branches in the field of immunology, an average salary is difficult to determine. The starting salary of the Immunologist anywhere starts between Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 30,000 per month in India. It can be risen up to Rs. 35,000 to Rs. 50,000 depending on their experience. Students who have a doctoral degree in Immunology, they can earn 7 to 8 Lakh per annum.


Frequently Asked Questions:

What hours do allergist/immunologist work?

Along with job responsibilities and salaries, working hours will very much depend on the sector. Longer and unsocial hours might be expected in some sectors, with academia offering the most flexible working hours.


Who employs Immunologists?

The younger graduates in this field can find numbers of employment in government as well as private hospitals. There is a bunch of scope in this field for appearing aspirants. You can also work as a visiting immunologist in various hospitals. The students who are doing training in doctorate can avail the placements with high salaries in private hospitals depending upon their experience. You can also opt the career in teaching jobs in universities and colleges. In upcoming future, there is a vast scope in this field.


What are some of the leading Universities in India which provide courses in Immunology?

Some of the leading universities in India, which offer courses in immunology are:

•Government Medical College, Surat

•Amity University, Noida

•National Institute of Immunology, New Delhi

•Vels University, Chennai

•Jawaharlal Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education & Research (JIPMER), Puducherry


What are some of the job duties of immunologist and alergists?

•Examine patients.

•Diagnose and treat the wide variety of immune system disorders.

•Plan and do experiments and studies.

•Examine and understand the results of studies.

•Arrange complete information based on the results of studies.

•Present reports at seminars, conventions, colleges and other appropriate platforms.


Is there a difference between allergists and immunologists?

Allergists focus on working with patients who are suffering from allergic reactions. After earning a medical degree, they are required to complete a residency and fellowship and earn a medical license. Board certification is also required. Since they spend a lot of time working with patients, allergists should be compassionate and have good people skills. They may work in clinics, hospitals or other medical facilities. Those who have their own office may work primarily during the day, while those who work for hospitals or other locations may also work evening and weekend hours.

Job responsibilities of an allergist include:

• Reviewing the medical history of their patients

• Determining what medical tests are needed

• Providing a diagnosis

• Reviewing treatment options with patients

• Informing patients about how to prevent or manage their allergic reactions

• Updating patients' medical files


Immunologists

Immunologists are medical doctors who have specialised in immunology. They may focus on research or clinical work. As medical doctors, they are required to have a medical degree and license and to complete any certification, fellowship and residency requirements to be designated an immunologist. Those who work in research may primarily work in laboratories, while those who do clinical work may be employed in medical facilities such as hospitals or medical offices. Their work hours will depend on where they're employed, and their specific focus may require different strengths. Clinical immunologists need good communication skills to effectively work with patients, while research immunologists will spend more time using problem-solving and analytical skills in their work.

Job responsibilities of an immunologist include:

• Studying specific illnesses that affect the immune system

• Performing tests on medications

• Determining which treatments are most effective for different conditions

• Assessing patients

• Prescribing a treatment plan or medication

• Educating patients about their condition


Is immunology an art or a science?

Immunology is a branch of biologythat covers the study of immune systems in all organisms. Immunology charts, measures, and contextualises the physiological functioning of the immune system in states of both health and diseases; malfunctions of the immune system in immunological disorders (such as autoimmune diseases, hypersensitivities, immune deficiency, and transplant rejection); and the physical, chemical, and physiological characteristics of the components of the immune system in vitro,in situ, and in vivo. Immunology has applications in numerous disciplines of medicine, particularly in the fields of organ transplantation, oncology, rheumatology, virology, bacteriology, parasitology, psychiatry, and dermatology.


Is it worth becoming an immunologist?

You'll need to have a keen interest in the biological processes of the human body and its immune system. Being passionate about understanding what is necessary for an immune system to function properly is also critical for success.

You must enjoy conducting research, and must be very comfortable expressing your professional opinion to other team members, such as those in research, management and public policy related positions.

In addition to an interest in the various elements of the profession, you must have an aptitude for academic work in the areas of molecular biology, immunology and epidemiology, as well as the intellectual and emotional stamina needed to complete the necessary education in these areas.


What are the related career options for an immunologist?

•Biology Science teachers, post-secondary

•Clinical Research Coordinators

•Medical Scientists, epidemiologists

•Molecular and Cellular Biologists

•Natural Science Managers

•Water Resource Specialists


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