What to Expect at Your Appointment
At Dakota Allergy & Asthma, it is a priority for us to ensure our patients are comfortable with their care. If you are a new patient, we ask that you complete a patient questionnaire and new patient information so we know about you and your allergy or asthma.
Your visit starts with seeing our nurse who obtains further information along with your vital signs—your blood pressure, pulse, respiratory rate, peak flow, etc.
Dr. Bubak, Mrs. Nielsen PA-C, or Mrs. Peterson, CNP will meet with you to obtain a complete medical history and examine you. They are especially interested in your allergy symptoms, exposures, the timing of your problems, and the effect of past treatments. The allergist also looks at how your other medical conditions relate to your allergies.
With this information, you and your allergist decide if further testing is needed to clarify what you are allergic to, how well your lungs are functioning, or if other problems are present. Examples of further testing are allergy tests, breathing tests, CAT scans or X-rays, and blood tests.
New Patient Forms
Step 1: Pulmonary Function Testing
The most common type of pulmonary function testing is Spirometry.
A special machine that you blow through called a spirometer is utilized to accurately measure how well your bronchial tubes are working and how obstructed they are.
This data is important in the diagnosis and ongoing management of asthma. It is usually performed annually.
Other types of pulmonary function testing can measure how well the oxygen is transported into your bloodstream, your lung volumes, the effects of medications, and how irritable your bronchial tubes are.
Step 2: Skin Tests
An allergy skin test may help diagnose the cause of the allergy. Skin tests are done on the arms or back using either the prick or intradermal method.
Prick Technique: In the prick technique, a drop of an allergy-producing substance (allergen) is applied to the skin, then the skin pricked.
Intradermal Technique: In the intradermal technique, a tiny amount of allergen is injected into the skin.
Skin tests are safe, and the results are available in 20 to 30 minutes. Antihistamine and antidepressant medications affect skin tests and must be stopped before tests are begun. Some antihistamines can interfere with allergy skin tests for weeks. Check with Dakota Allergy & Asthma about stopping medications.
Step 3: Blood Allergy Tests
Allergies can also be diagnosed using a blood test. Examples include the radioallergosorbent test (RAST) or the ImmunoCap. They give information similar to the skin test, however, they are more expensive, may miss identifying some allergies, and also take longer to determine the results.
The blood test can be useful, however, when a skin test is not possible. For example, it can be used when a person has a skin disease which does not allow skin tests to be done, or when taking an antihistamine or other medication that might affect skin test results.
Both skin and blood allergy test results must be interpreted by a physician who is experienced in diagnosing and treating allergies and who is familiar with your medical history.
Step 4: Summary Visit
After your testing, you will have a Summary Visit when we review the test results, give you your diagnosis, and plan out your treatment course.
If you’d like, feel free to bring other family members involved in your care to this appointment. Together, you can learn more about your particular type of allergy and its specific treatment. We encourage you to write down questions before you come, and bring that list with you.