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Last reviewed by: Aleksey Portnov , medical expert, on 19.06.2018

Due to the constant mutations and changes in viruses, bacteria and other pathogens, people have become more vulnerable to disease and their immune responses are not always able to fight the disease. The solution of such problems is the immunologist.

Immunology is a science that studies a variety of body responses to antigens, the mechanisms of their origin, the course and the final outcome. The rate of development of science is very rapid, and therefore the distinctive feature of immunology is that this science is not stable and its fundamentals vary more in time than the foundations of other sciences.

Who is an immunologist?

An immunologist is a specialist with a higher medical education who has completed a profile internship and has the right to work in a specialized medical institution. In the specific work of an immunologist is working with patients who have some or other problems in the work of the immune system. He deals with the treatment and prevention of these diseases, controls their development and influence on the patient's body. Also, immunology doctors together with scientists take joint participation in the development of vaccines and vaccinations against various diseases.

A very important part of the immunologist's work is the immunization of a healthy population, and monitoring the timely conduct of vaccines and vaccinations. In the modern world, immunologists are quite demanded specialists, since it is up to them to determine the immunization and overall health of patients.

When should I contact the immunologist?

For consultation and treatment, the immunologist should be consulted in cases where your health has worsened and there are problems with the basic diagnosis. Very often, the treating doctors themselves send their patients for advice to the immunologist in order to more accurately diagnose the disease.

The following symptoms and problems that may arise should alert the patient and when they appear the immunologist's consultation will be more than productive. Such states include: 

  • A slight increase in body temperature of unclear etiology, which lasts more than 3-7 days.
  • Chronic fatigue and fatigue.
  • Insomnia or a constant desire to sleep.
  • Body aches and general malaise.
  • Frequent protracted catarrhal diseases (more than 4-5 times a year).
  • Frequent occurrence of herpes.
  • Prolonged purulent diseases of the oral cavity and nasopharynx.
  • Failures in the work of the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Decrease or increase in all indicators of a general blood test.
  • Constant relapse of diseases.
  • Immunity of the body to antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal agents.

What tests should I take when I contact an immunologist?

In most cases, the immunologist physician himself assigns to the patient those tests that he must pass for the diagnosis. Basically, these are complex biochemical analyzes that are highly effective and are conducted in specialized laboratories. There are a lot of such analyzes (about 150-200) and they are divided into certain groups - autoimunological studies, rheumatoid studies, general immunity parameters, diagnosis of celiac disease, diagnostics of antiphospholipid syndrome. Naturally, the doctor also needs to look at the results of the general tests - the analysis of blood, urine, feces.

What diagnostic methods does the immunologist use?

To assign the right treatment, it is very important for the immunologist to give the patient the right diagnosis. To do this, he uses a variety of diagnostic methods. These include:

  • Results of blood tests.
  • Testing the skin with allergens (plant pollen, household, food allergens, etc.).
  • Investigation of immune and interferon status.
  • Cytological scrapings from the tongue, tonsils and auditory motion to determine the mycelium of fungi.
  • Analysis of feces for dysbiosis.
  • Bacteriological cultures of blood for sterility.
  • Crops from throat, nose, ear, conjunctiva.
  • Molecular-biological and serological studies.
  • Complex diagnostics of drug and food allergies.
  • Measurement of heart rate, heart rate, blood pressure, vital capacity of the lungs.

If necessary, the immunologist can also use such diagnostic methods as percussion, palpation, auscultation, ultrasound, x-ray, electrocardiogram, tissue biopsy, etc.

What does an immunologist do?

The specificity of the immunologist's work is very wide, since the immune system is responsible for the work of each organ in our body and for the correct functioning of the organism as a whole. The immunologist is engaged in medical practice and treatment of patients with various diseases and pathologies of the immune system. In addition, immunologists work in research centers, where they are engaged in research and development of new medicines and vaccines. The main sections of immunology are: 

  • General immunology (studies immunity at the molecular and cellular level).
  • Immunopathology (treatment of patients with already obvious diseases of the immune system).
  • Infectious immunology (study of immune response in infectious diseases).
  • Noninfectious immunology (study of the immune response of the body to non-infectious antigens).
  • Immunochemistry (studies immunity at the chemical level).
  • Allergic immunology (deals with the treatment of allergic reactions of the body from the point of view of immunity).
  • Transplantation immunology (associated with donor organ transplant problems).
  • Radiation immunology (is engaged in the restoration of immune functions after radiation therapy).
  • Embryo immunology (solves the problems of immune incompatibility of the fetus and the mother).

There are also immunologist-pediatricians who specialize specifically in studying the work and development of immunity in childhood and the specific treatment of immune diseases in children and the features of immunization for healthy children.

What diseases are treated by an immunologist?

The immunologist deals with the treatment of many diseases, since the immune system covers the entire body and the malfunctions in her work, as a rule, affect each system of internal organs. The main groups of diseases that are treated by an immunologist include: 

  • Chronic diseases that are associated with secondary immunodeficiency.
  • Viral diseases, which are characterized by systematic relapses.
  • Infectious diseases that appeared against the background of HIV, AIDS, hepatitis, etc. 
  • Recurrent purulent diseases (osteomyelitis, furunculosis, pyoderma).
  • Recurrent fungal diseases.
  • Urological and gynecological diseases.
  • Benign formations with a high risk of malignancy (degeneration into cancer).
  • Allergic diseases (allergic rhinitis, conjunctivitis, cold, food allergies).
  • Allergic reactions to insect bites.
  • Allergic reactions to medication.
  • Diseases of unknown etiology.

Advice of an immunologist

Proceeding from the fact that in the modern world the living conditions of the environment are not very favorable for humans and the way of life of many people is passive enough, it is primarily displayed on the immune system. According to statistical data, practically every adult or child has low immunity. The lowering of immunity can be observed as a seasonal phenomenon and also as a chronic condition. First of all, it is very actively promoted by constant stresses, improper nutrition, restriction of physical activity, overwork, lack of sleep, unfavorable working and living conditions. In order to improve their immunity and do preventive maintenance of diseases, it is necessary to stay more often outdoors, play sports, lead a healthy lifestyle and nutrition, not succumb to stressful conditions. These simple rules will help you strengthen immunity and resist illnesses.

But before you try to increase your immunity yourself by the way of taking vitamins and medications, it is necessary to consult a doctor, since human immunity is a very complex system, and everyone has it working at different levels. Therefore, not always one person can help what the other takes. If the patient already has an obvious disease of the immune system, then self-medication in this case can be very dangerous, because you can drastically aggravate your health.

Another important point in the work of an immunologist is the immunization of a healthy population. Now there are many myths that vaccinations are deadly injections and they should not be done, especially for children. In fact, these are all myths. For a healthy person, the vaccine does not carry any potential threat to life and refusal to vaccinate after a while can literally become a matter of life and death, especially for children whose immune system is very weak. When a pathogenic factor enters the body of a non-vaccinated child, it is almost impossible to resist it and very often such conditions have a lethal outcome.

As a conclusion, we can say that the immunologist is a very important specialist in modern medicine, he has a multidisciplinary level of work and specializes in the treatment of almost all diseases. The immune system of a modern person is very vulnerable, and if you begin to notice a deterioration in overall health and frequent illnesses, then an immunologist can help you solve this problem.

It is important to know!

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