If you have never been to an allergy doctor before, you probably do not know what to expect during your first visit. You might think going to the allergist is all about being pricked by needle after needle to see what you are allergic to. Just the thought of that may make you dread going to that first appointment. However, seeing an allergist is not just all about needles.
What to Expect During Your Visit
During your first visit, you’ll be asked to complete a new patient information sheet and a patient questionnaire. Your answers will help the doctor know more about your health history and a little about what you are experiencing with your allergy or asthma.
A nurse will then ask you additional information. He or she will record your vital signs, including the following:
- Blood pressure
- Heart rate
- Respiratory rate
- Peak flow
When taking your peak flow, the nurse will have you quickly blow air into a device called a peak flow meter. It measures how well air is able to move out of your lungs.
Meeting with the Doctor
Once the preliminary information gathering has been completed, you will meet with the allergist who will be examining you. You’ll be asked questions about your medical history, such as these:
- What type of allergy symptoms are you experiencing?
- Are you aware of what allergen(s) might be causing your allergy symptoms?
- What time of the year to you have allergy problems?
- Do you have any existing medical conditions that you’re aware of?
- If you previously received treatment for your allergies/asthma, were they effective?
Using the information you have provided, the allergist will determine if you’ll need further testing to decipher the following:
- Allergens are causing your allergic reactions
- Your level of lung function
- Other possible medical problems
Types of Testing an Allergist Might Request
The allergist may request various tests, such as these common ones:
- Allergy tests, including skin tests. You’ll need to stop taking antihistamine or antidepressant medications before these tests can be performed.
- Pulmonary function testing, using a special machine called a spirometer. A Spirometry test measures how well the bronchial tubes in your lungs are functioning and if they are obstructed.
- Blood tests may be used when skin tests cannot be used
Once your tests are completed, you’ll be scheduled for a summary visit to discuss the results and diagnosis.
Dakota Allergy & Asthma is ready to answer any questions you might have about your first visit. Please, contact our team if you have any questions or concerns ahead of your appointment! You might also resolve your inquiry by checking out our resource with questions frequently asked by our patients.