Frequently Asked Questions about my Visit
Q. Can I eat or drink prior to my appointment?
A. Yes, and you may bring snacks and drinks to your appointment. Due to the sensitivity of some of our food allergic patients, we ask that you wait until you are in the exam room to eat or drink anything.
Q. May I take my daily medications the day of my visit?
A. For the most part, the answer is yes. Antihistamines, however, can interfere with allergy testing. If you are taking Claritin, Clarinex, loratadine, Zyrtec, or Allegra, please stop taking that medicine five days prior to your appointment. Please do not take any antihistamine medication, including over-the-counter medicines, for at least 72 hours before your first visit, since antihistamines may interfere with your allergy skin test results.
Q. May I take Singulair?
A. Yes, Singulair is advertised as an antihistamine, but it is not on the list of antihistamines to stop taking. You do not have to stop taking Singulair.
Q. Can I take antibiotics the same day as the appointment?
A. Yes, Antibiotics do not interfere with testing.
Q. Does the allergy testing hurt?
A. For most people there is little discomfort; however we do provide anesthetic for children. (see next question).
Q. Are there any side effects from the testing?
A. A few patients experience local swelling on the upper arm from the intradermal skin testing.
Q. How long will the first visit take?
A. Please allow approximately 4-5 hours. We now offer the option of breaking up your initial exam in two appointments. Please ask for this option if it works best with you or your child's schedule. Plan on each appointment to take 2 hours if you choose this option.
Q. Why does the first visit take so long?
A. The initial medical examination we provide is comprehensive. Skin testing and/or asthma testing is performed, X-rays are taken (if needed), test results are discussed, and treatment recommendations are made.
Q.Can I resume my normal activities after testing?
A. Yes, there are no special restrictions related to allergy testing.
Q. How do you entertain small children for that long?
A. We have TVs with cable connection and VCRs/DVDs and toys in each room. You may also bring your child's movies or toys.
Q. What should patients wear?
A. We recommend comfortable clothing, including a short-sleeved shirt. If we test for asthma, we may have you perform exercise on a treadmill, so you will need appropriate walking or running footwear.
Q. Does everyone get the same testing?
A. No, Everyone is different; therefore, each person's testing may differ. For example, we would not perform as much testing on an infant as we would on adults.
Q. Is there an age limit on asthma/allergy testing?
A. No, We routinely test patients of all ages.
Q. Do I need my medical records from my other physicians?
A. Yes, Please bring them with you if possible because they help our providers obtain a more complete picture of your medical history.
Q. Will I know my results of asthma/allergy testing the same day?
A. Yes, in detail, with treatment recommendations and medication instructions.
Q. Is it normal to have delayed reactions to skin testing the next day?
A. Yes, but that does not mean that you are allergic. We look for reactions within the first 20 minutes of testing.
Q. Which insurance plans do you accept?
A. Although we participate in various insurance plans, we strongly recommend that you check with your insurance company to verify coverage for allergy/asthma testing and treatment you will be receiving from us. Insurance plans vary, depending on plan types, even within the same company, and you are ultimately responsible for charges for your treatment.
Q. How much will the charges be for the first visit?
A. Charges can range from $500 to $3,000 depending upon the extent of the allergy/asthma testing. Most patients experience a charge of approximately $800-$1,500.
Q. Will you bill me for my co-pay?
A. Co-pays are expected during check-in for the visit. Billing for co-pays costs us money in terms of personnel time and effort and is the patient's responsibility at the time of service. If we have to bill for co-pays, we add a $5.00 administrative fee to the amount.
Q. Why is it important that I see a board certified allergist?
A. Allergists who are board certified have first passed an exam of either the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP) or the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM). Then they complete at least two additional years of study, called a fellowship, in an allergy/immunology training program. Allergists/immunologists who are board certified have passed the certifying examination of the American Board of Allergy and Immunology (ABAI), following their fellowship. As a result of this extensive study and training, a board-certified allergist/immunologist is the best-qualified medical professional to manage comprehensive needs of patients with allergic disease. Studies show that patients under the care of an allergist/immunologist also make fewer visits to emergency rooms and are better able to manage their allergies and asthma on a daily basis.
Q. What are the basic allergies for which you test?
A. Our standard panel of allergens includes molds, grasses, trees, weeds, and environmental agents (dust mites, dog, cat, feathers, etc.) Food Allergies are tested on as as-needed basis.
Q. What medication allergies can you test for?
A. We only stock penicillin for skin testing; however, we can test for other medications and will do so an a case-by-case basis.
Q. What happens if my dentist wants me to be tested regarding an anesthetic?
A. We do perform that testing. However, we don't stock anesthetic because it isn't a common procedure; therefore, you will be asked to obtain the anesthetic from your dentist and bring it with you.
Q. Will I always see a physician on my visits?
A. We have Physician Extenders (nurse practitioners) who are capable of diagnosing and treating patients. Our physician extenders see work-in appointments and follow-up appointments when a physician is not readily available.
Q. If my allergy doctor recommends that I take shots, do I have to have an appointment each time I take them?
A. No, Because we are a specialty office, we design our offices to accommodate our patients who receive allergy shots. You can register for your shots at a separate sign-in location, and you will be called in the order of your registration.
Q. What if I have additional questions?
A. Please contact us by telephone (423-499-4100). We will be pleased to assist.