How long will I be in the doctor's office for my first allergy evaluation appointment?
Please plan on one to two hours depending on your medical history, physical exam and testing. You can help speed the process by completing all necessary forms including the "reason for visit" form prior to arriving at the office. Also, please arrive on time for your appointment.
Are there medicatons that interfere with allergy testing?
Yes, actually there are medications that interfere with allergy testing. Antihistamines interfere with allergy skin testing. We ask most patients to discontinue long acting antihistamines (like Claritin and Zyrtec) 5 days before their appointment. Short acting antihistamines (like Benadryl) should be stopped 3 days prior to your appointment. If your symptoms are severe (such as hives) you may stay on your medication. Your allergy doctor will know how to proceed. There are also other medications that may interfere but that will be discussed by your doctor during your appointment.
What kind of allergy testing is available?
We feel skin testing is very reliable to determine an allergy diagnosis. We usually start with skin prick testing. Prick testing is simpy a series of tiny pricks with special needles that introduce to the skin a small amount of the most common allergy culprits (such as cat, dog, and ragweed) . Occasionally we will do intradermals which are similar in technique to a TB test. There is also a blood test available for screening allergies that can be ordered through an outside lab depending upon your insurance plan. You can discuss the testing options with the doctor to see what best works for you and your condition. We may also order xrays, pulmonary function tests or other blood tests if necessary for further diagnosis.