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A Welcome to our New Allergy Patients

Welcome to Carolina Asthma & Allergy Center. We understand how much allergies can interfere with your daily routine, whether you suffer from seasonal allergies or if you have life-threatening allergies. You don’t have to accept allergies as a way of life, however. We’ll help you find a better way.

After identifying the source of your allergy, we’ll work with you to create an individualized treatment plan. Whether your allergy is mild or serious, we will offer you the care you need to manage your allergy and restore your quality of life. Our goal is to return a sense of normalcy to those who suffer from allergies with a treatment plan that’s both effective and convenient.

Our entire team of physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners all specialize in allergies, asthma, and immunotherapy. Even in Charlotte – where it seems that nearly everyone has allergies – they understand how to identify and treat these allergies effectively.

Thank you for choosing Carolina Asthma & Allergy Center. We look forward to working with you. If you have questions about allergy testing prior to your visit, we have compiled information to help you understand what to expect as you begin testing and treatment.

Once you have read through the testing and treatment overview please be sure to download the New Patient Packet that contains additional information for your first visit.

What is Allergy Testing?

Simply put, allergies are the immune system overreacting to certain stimuli – like pollen – that other people don’t react to at all. To determine the most effective path for treatment, we will work with you to determine specifically what is causing your allergic reactions. To do this, a number of tests may be administered.

What are the Different Types of Allergy Testing?

To determine the source of your allergy, you may undergo allergy tests, such as:

  • Percutaneous testing
  • Intradermal testing
  • RAST testing
  • Patch testing

What is Percutaneous and Intradermal Testing?

Percutaneous testing – also known as an allergy skin prick – can determine which allergens people are allergic to. During a skin prick test, allergens are placed on a patient’s skin and the skin is lightly scratched. After 15 minutes, the skin is checked for a reaction. The severity of the allergy is determined by the size of the reaction. We test for potential allergens such as environmental allergens, foods, insect venom, and medications.

If the skin prick test is negative, your doctor may conduct intradermal testing. This type of allergy test is done by injecting allergens under the skin. After 15 minutes, the skin is checked for a reaction. Patients who experience minor or negative reactions to allergy tests often experience minimal to no pain. Individuals who experience positive reactions may experience itching or red bumps that subside with time.

What is RAST Testing?

RAST, or radioallergosorbent, testing is performed at a laboratory. With this process, we’ll send a blood sample to a laboratory where it will be checked to see if the patient is making any allergen-specific antibodies. This type of test is performed when a person has a skin condition or on a medication that interferes with skin testing.

What is Patch Testing?

Allergic reaction to chemicals that contact your skin may be diagnosed using a patch test. This type of test is often conducted if the physician believes that your allergies may be occupational related, such as an allergy to chemicals or metals that are causing your reaction or discomfort. Because the potential reaction to the contact allergens is not immediate, like in other tests, the patches must remain in place for two days prior to any reaction being able to be read. You may feel a slight itching during this time period and will need to refrain from showering, sweating, or swimming during those two days as well.

How Does Allergy Testing Work?

During allergy testing, your skin is exposed to small amounts of suspected allergens, which may include foods, pet dander, medication, or environmental allergens. Doctors supervise your skin’s reaction, they’ll determine which substance or substances is causing the allergic reaction. From there, doctors work with you to create a treatment plan that’s effective and convenient for you.

What are Options for Allergy Treatments?

After we’ve determined your specific allergies, we can work toward the best possible treatment paths, which often differ from adults to children. We customize all treatment paths for our patients, depending not only on their allergies but also on their lifestyles.

There are many options for treating allergies. Many people are most familiar with immunotherapy, or allergy shots. If you chose immunotherapy, understand that the most essential active ingredients in are patience and commitment; allergy shots take a while to work. While you will likely notice a change for the better in four to six months, you should allow a year of treatment to see real improvements. We believe that it’s worth the wait: the five-year success rate for allergy shots is about 85 percent!

Immunotherapy is just one of several treatment options available, however. We will discuss with you the most effective and convenient options for you to create your individual treatment plan.

What are Allergy Treatment Options for Adults?

What are Allergy Treatment Options for Children?

  • Avoidance of allergens or environmental controls
  • Medications
  • Allergen-specific immunotherapy (either allergy shots or tablets)

Beginning Your Allergy Treatment at CAAC

We don’t just treat allergies; we care for patients. Please share with us any concerns or questions you may have about testing or treatments. We want you to feel comfortable in the process and confident in your treatment plan. Our goal is to help restore your quality of life – to breathe, live, and ultimately thrive – whatever your allergy and whatever your age.

Since 1952, we’ve served the Charlotte community with specialized care for those who deal with allergies and asthma. All of our physicians are trained and board certified in allergy, asthma, and immunology from the American Board of Allergy and Immunology (ABIA). This requires a two- to three-year fellowship in allergy/immunology, on top of the medical residency. These physicians are supported by a team of physician assistants and nurse practitioners who are also specialists in the field.

When you come for your first appointment, it will likely be longer than subsequent appointments. It may be up to three hours, and the appointment will likely include a consultation as well as testing. We’ve learned from patients that combining these appointments into one longer appointment can be both cost effective and convenient, reducing copays and return trips to our office.

We look forward to meeting with you and putting you on the path to a successful allergy treatment.

Allergy Testing FAQs

How Long Does Allergy Testing Take?

The length of time depends upon the test used. Percutaneous and intradermal testing require about 15 minutes from the start of the test until the physician can read the results. Patch testing, which often detects environmental and occupational-related allergen exposures, usually lasts about two days.

Are Allergy Tests Accurate?

Allergy tests have a high accuracy rate, especially in regard to airborne allergens, such as pollen, dust, and pet dander. Food allergens are more complex, however. Because similar foods can share proteins, allergy tests may reveal false positives. You may require additional testing to determine the exact cause of the allergy. Having a board-certified allergist is essential to identifying the source of the food allergy.

Which Type of Allergy Test Should I Get?

We invite you to come into our offices to have a consultation with one of our board-certified physicians who specialize in the treatment of allergies. We’ll discuss your symptoms and determine which test is best suited for you.

Does Insurance Pay for Allergy Tests?

It depends on the policy. At Carolina Asthma & Allergy Center, we’re happy to help you navigate the insurance process. We can reach out to your insurance company prior to your visit to determine if allergy testing and immunotherapy are covered by your health insurance policy, in case you might need either. Either way, we’ll create cost estimates to avoid any billing surprises for you when it’s time to make test or treatment decisions. Every step of the way, we support you in making a confident, educated decision about your care.

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