More than 50 million people in the United States have allergic diseases. Some of them have symptoms year-round and others have trouble only when seasonal pollens fill the air. Regardless of the frequency or severity, the first step in any effective allergy treatment plan is to see an allergist, a physician who specializes in treating allergies and asthma, for evaluation, testing and diagnosis. Many people with allergies never see a physician for testing because of misconceptions about the procedure. But allergy tests are convenient, accurate and relatively painless. Along with a patient's medical history, the results of allergy testing can confirm that symptoms are the result of allergies, rather than some other cause, and can identify the specific substances that trigger allergic reactions. An allergist can then determine the most appropriate and effective treatment.