Frequently Asked Questions

How do I make an appointment?
How do I cancel an appointment?
Do I need a referral?
What are the payment and insurance requirements?
Does Allergy and Asthma Associates file insurance?
What do I need to bring to my first appointment?
How long will my first visit be?
How is asthma diagnosed?
What medications do I need to stop taking before coming in for allergy testing?
Is allergy testing painful?
Who should get allergy shots?
What is a board Certified Allergist/Immunologist?

   

How do I make an appointment?
Please call our office at 828-327-0600.  You may also request appointments through this website.  However, all emergency appointments must be made by phone or in person.

How do I cancel an appointment?
Please call the office ASAP if you can not keep an appointment. A 24 hour notice is requested to cancel an appointment.  There may be a late cancellation fee of $35 for an appointment that is missed or not canceled. You will be personally responsible for this cancellation fee. This fee will not be billed to nor paid by your insurance company. Future appointments may not be scheduled until this fee is paid. Please help us keep scheduling and appointments fair for everyone.

Do I need a referral?
Most insurance companies do not require a referral but some do.  So please check your policy or call your insurance company.

What are the payment and insurance requirements?

Payment is expected at the time of service. We will submit charges to your insurance provider. We are unable to quote your insurance coverage. Please contact your insurance provider or benefits manager for detailed information. Bring your insurance card and ID card to all appointments. If alternative financial arrangements are needed please speak to our financial office prior to your appointment.

Does Allergy and Asthma Associates file insurance?
We accept and file most insurance.  We ask that you take care of copays and deductibles at the time of the visit.

What do I need to bring to my first appointment?
Before you visit, we encourage you to download, review and complete patient forms before you come to the office.Bring the completed patient forms, your current insurance card,  and a photo ID to your appointment.

How long will my first visit be?
On your initial evaluation, a complete and thorough medical history is obtained.  This is followed by a physical exam and appropriate testing.  This may take up to 2 hours.

How is asthma diagnosed?
Along with analyzing the information from a complete medical history and physical exam, spirometry can also be used to help diagnose asthma.  Spirometry is a breathing test that can guide us in determining the severity of asthma.  It also allows us to monitor asthma as we treat it.  We also have a treadmill available in the office which we use along with spirometry to determine exercise induced asthma.

What medications do I need to stop taking before coming in for allergy testing?
Antihistamines (like Allegra, Clarinex, Claritin, Benadryl) and some cold/cough/sinus medications can interfere with testing.  Most of these have to be stopped for at least 5 days before testing.  However, if you have severe allergy, itching, hives, etc., and do not think you can stop these medications, then please call one of our nurses for advice before stopping.  Do not stop taking your asthma medications.  If you have questions about which medications to stop, please call our clinical staff at 838-327-0600.

Is allergy testing painful?
Majority  of allergy testing that we do involves pricking or scratching the skin with a plastic device.  We often hear comments like "is that all" after the testing has been completed.  We use a device called multitest for the younger  children where we are able to test for several allergens simultaneously.  Even though many children (and adults) may be very anxious and scared, overall they do very well.  So most of the testing does not involve needles except occasionally when more thorough testing is necessary.  A word about "blood tests"  for allergies - each lab that performs these tests uses different methods and sometimes may not be very accurate.  Usually they are more expensive for the number of tests done.  However, in some cases, the "blood allergy" tests may be appropriate and in these cases we will order them from a reliable lab.

Who should get allergy shots?
Once specific allergies have been diagnosed, then we go through individual plans for avoidance  of the allergens.  However, in many cases, total avoidance is not possible.  So, appropriate allergy or asthma medications may be prescribed.  In many cases this is all that needs to be done.  However, if these methods are not working or if the medications prescribed are not tolerated, allergy shots are recommended.  Allergy shots are actual allergen, i.e. pollen, dust mites, mold, etc., that are prepared into a vaccine and given as injections to build immunity against allergies.  The vaccine is specific for each patient based on his/her allergies.  Therefore, these shots are very different from taking medication.  Allergy shots are given 2 times a week starting with a very dilute vaccine and then working up to a maintenance dose in about 3-4 months.  Then maintenance shots are usually given at 2 to 4 week intervals depending on individual evaluation.  It usually takes 6 months to a year to know significant results from allergy shots.  It is recommended that the maintenance schedule of shots be continued for 3-5 years or until almost complete relief from allergies during allergy season is noted.  Shots are given in medical clinics where emergency treatment for reactions is available.

What is a board certified Allergist/Immunologist?
A board certified allergist/immunologist is a physician who has fulfilled the requirements of and has received certification as a diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) and/or the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP) followed by additional certification by the American Board of Allergy and Immunology (ABAI), a conjoint board of the American Board of Internal Medicine and the American Board of Pediatrics.

The purpose of certification by the ABAI is to provide assurance to the public and the medical profession that a certified allergist/immunologist has successfully completed an accredited educational program and an evaluation process, including a secure, proctored examination. ABAI certification also assures that the physician possesses the knowledge, skills, and experience requisite to the provision of high-quality patient care in allergy and immunology. The ABAI believes that all allergists/immunologists should have a fundamental knowledge of the biological science basic to this discipline, and that ABAI is responsible for the establishment and maintenance of the standards of knowledge required for certification.