Your First Visit
What to expect at your appointment
Please arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled new patient appointment time.
This will allow you some extra time to:
- Turn in or complete the new patient health history form
- Verify your medical insurance
If your primary care provider has referred you please ask them to send us a copy of any relevant medical records, including lab work or x-rays, prior to your scheduled appointment.
After your check-in at the front desk:
You will first meet with the Medical Assistant who will check your blood pressure, pulse and respiratory rate and review any other necessary medical information.
Your allergist will then review your new patient health history form with you and obtain a very detailed history regarding your symptoms – including severity, relation to possible allergen exposure, and response to past treatment.
A physical exam will be done focusing on the eyes, ears, nose, throat, lungs and skin to look for signs of allergic disease – including nasal allergies, asthma and skin-related allergies such as eczema, hives or contact dermatitis.
After the history and physical exam, and the review of the relevant previous tests and medical records, you and your allergist will decide if any further testing is necessary. This may include skin testing and or blood tests to clarify what you or your child are allergic to, lung function tests to objectively diagnose or help fine-tune control of asthma, or radiological images such as a sinus CT scan or chest x-ray. Below you will find a more detailed description of the most commonly ordered tests.
A comprehensive evaluation of your problems will follow with an individualized, detailed plan of action.
Breathing (Lung Function) Tests
Lung function tests (also called spirometry) are one of the most important tests we do to help manage asthma and other lung illness. It measures airway obstruction and response to treatment with a bronchodilator. Children as young as 5 years can learn to do reliable spirometry with the expert coaching from our staff, as well as with fun incentive graphics on the lung function computer. These include “birthday cake candles” and “The Three Little Pigs houses” to encourage children to blow their hardest. Lung function tests are very important in making an initial diagnosis of asthma, determining its severity, and allowing us to determine which medication and dose needed to get the asthma under the best control possible.
Allergy Skin Tests
Skin testing involves introducing a small amount of allergen just under the skin surface by pricking the skin through a drop of the allergen extract. The prick tests are done with a sterile, disposable plastic prick test device that looks like a small tooth pick. The sensation is generally not uncomfortable; if the patient is allergic to the substance, itching of a mild to moderate degree may be experienced.
These can be placed on the arm or back, depending on patient preference and the age and size of the child. The discomfort is generally minimal, even for children. Test results are available within 15 to 20 minutes after application, so you don't have to wait long to find out what is triggering your allergies. Generally you won't have any other symptoms other than a small hive where the test was done.
These tests are the most accurate /sensitive tests.
Certain medications may prevent skin tests from reacting. Please see the form medications to avoid before skin testing for specific names and length of time to avoid.
Sometimes your allergist will order a blood test (immuno CAP RAST test) to look for allergy antibodies to food or airborne allergens (such as pollen, mold, animal danders, or house dust mites). These can be used to confirm the likelihood of reaction to food and also be used to follow the progress of the food allergy over time.
Immuno CAP RAST tests are usually done when skin tests cannot be done, such as on patients taking certain medications, those with skin conditions that may interfere with skin testing or in uncooperative patients. In case of food allergies, they are often done prior to or in conjunction with skin testing.