Allergy is a science-based specialty, which relies on understanding the biological mechanisms underlying allergies such as asthma, allergic rhinitis (hay fever), food allergy, insect allergy and anaphylaxis.
Accurate diagnosis requires an examination of the history to determine whether an immune/allergic condition is likely to be the cause of symptoms, combined with reliable allergy testing to confirm the diagnosis.
Advice needs to be evidence based
When considering testing and treatment, advice needs to be evidence based. In other words, there needs to be evidence that a particular test or treatment is reliable, based on studies of other patients with the same condition.
Reliable tests need to be able to distinguish between those with illness and those without. Therapeutic trials are designed to show that any improvement seen is due to the treatment, and not just due to chance or coincidence. Such studies also examine whether a particular treatment may also cause harm as well as benefit.
Levels of evidence have been developed to rate the quality of published evidence, with Level I being the highest quality of evidence, and level IV being of lesser quality. These levels assist doctors to more readily select a test and/or treatment for their patient that is most likely to help.