Frequently Asked Questions
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    How long do new patient appointments take?

    Typically anywhere from 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours depending on the testing needed.

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    How is allergy testing performed?

    There are several methods that may be indicated:

     

    –Skin testing known as skin prick tests are performed by placing “stamps” on your back with 10 small needles on each stamp that have a small amount of allergy extract on the ends of the needles.  We also have individual prick tests if you need a smaller amount of testing performed.  Testing will be approximately 15 minutes and at the end of that time you will have your results read; if you are positive you will have a “hive” in the area that corresponds to the specific allergen tested.

     

    –If you show negative to certain groups of environmental allergens the physician may request that intradermal tests be placed to the negative groups to confirm results, as we do not want to potentially start you on Allergy Injections without confirming this.

     

    –If unable to skin test or if insurance does not cover skin testing, labs may be ordered.

     

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    Is there pain associated with skin testing?

    Generally patients describe testing as a feeling of a wire hairbrush being placed on your back. You will have localized itching if you are positive, which we will treat at the end of testing.

     

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    Why do I have to stop certain medications such as antihistamines 5 days prior to testing?

    –Antihistamines block skin testing and will result in a false negative. Please review our list of medications to avoid; other medications such as anxiety, gastrointestinal or heart medications may also effect testing. If you are taking medications for you heart, depression or anxiety please notify our office prior to stopping as some medications can be adjusted or alternative testing may be indicated.

     

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    What if I can't go off my medications due to the severity of my symptoms?

    –No problem, come in for your initial visit and Dr. Gourley will determine if we can place you on an alternative medication to help relieve your symptoms while you hold antihistamines for 1 week. We will then have you return the following week for testing if indicated.

     

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    What kind of asthma testing can I expect?

    We typically have patient’s perform PFT testing (pulmonary function testing) which will show if there is any obstruction or restriction in your breathing. This testing is done via a computer program. You will breathe out fast and hard for approximately 6-8 seconds. We will then repeat the test up to 6 times to produce 3 matching results needed for interpretation. Based on this initial test we may choose to give you a few puffs from an Albuterol inhaler to open your lungs and then repeat the test after 15 minutes to look for improvement.

     

    –Another possible breathing test is an ENO (Exhaled Nitric Oxide ).  This is looking for things like allergic inflammation. It measures the level of nitric oxide gas in an exhaled sample of your breath. This sample is collected by having you breathe into the mouthpiece of a machine that performs the measurement.

     

    –Children may or may not having breathing tests performed. This is based on their age and maturity level.  Even if not tested but having symptoms they will still receive treatment as indicated for possible asthma.

     

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    Will you test to a variety of food allergens?

    –We have 50 different foods available for testing; however we will only test to foods that are suspected of causing a possible reaction. This is due to the possibility of false positives which are caused as a result of cross reactivity. For example, if you are allergic to ragweed you may show positive to cantaloupe as the pollens are so similar.

     

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    What if I have symptoms to fresh fruits and vegetables?

    –This may be due to a food allergy or it may be a result of oral allergy syndrome. Your physician will be able to determine the cause based on your history and testing.

     

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    What if I have been stung by a flying insect and had a reaction? Is there treatment available?

    –Yes, there is treatment available. We would first perform testing which consists of a series of skin prick tests and intradermal tests; if positive it would be advised that you start venom immunotherapy. This consists of receiving injections weekly until you build up to a maintenance dose at which point you would be monthly. You will be receiving injections for 5 years, this will drastically reduce your chances of anaphylaxis upon re-sting.