Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need my medical records from my other physicians?
Yes. Please bring them with you if possible because they help our providers obtain a more complete picture of your medical history. We have medical record release forms in our office that you can complete. We can then fax the release to your physician's office.

Can I eat or drink prior to my appointment?
Yes, and you may bring snacks and drinks to your appointment. Due to the sensitivity of some of our food allergic patients, we ask that you do not bring any nut snacks and that you wait until you are in the exam room to eat or drink anything else.

May I take my daily medications the day of my visit?
For the most part, the answer is yes. Antihistamines, however, can interfere with allergy testing. If you are taking Claritin, Clarinex, loratadine, Zyrtec, or Allegra, please stop taking that medicine three to five days prior to your appointment.  Please do not take any antihistamine medication, including over-the-counter medicines, for at least 72 hours before your first visit, since antihistamines may interfere with your allergy skin test results.

Can I take Singulair before my appointment?
Yes. Singulair is advertised as an antihistamine, but it is not on the list of antihistamines to stop taking. You do not have to stop taking Singulair.

Can I take antibiotics the same day as the appointment?
Yes. Antibiotics do not interfere with testing.

How long will the first visit take?
Please allow approximately four hours.

Why does the first visit take that long?
The initial medical examination we provide is comprehensive. Skin testing and/or asthma testing is performed, imagining studies may be ordered (if needed), test results and treatment recommendations are discussed.

Is there anything for small children to do before or during the visit?
We have a play area for children in our waiting area, and we have toys in each room. You may also bring your child's own toys or games.

Does the allergy testing hurt?
For most people there is little discomfort; however, we do provide EMLA cream, an anesthetic cream for children.

Are there any side effects from the testing?
A few patients experience itching and local swelling on the area where the prick tests or intradermal skin testing has been performed. In extremely rare cases, some people may experience a "systemic" or severe allergic reaction. Our providers and staff are trained to deal with any and all allergic reactions no matter the severity.

Can I resume my normal activities after testing?
Yes, there are no special restrictions related to allergy testing.

What should patients wear?
We recommend comfortable clothing, including a short-sleeved shirt. If we test for asthma, we may have you perform exercise on a treadmill, so you will need appropriate walking or running footwear.

Does everyone get the same testing?
No. Each person's testing will be based on their individual needs.

Is there an age limit on asthma/allergy testing?
No. We routinely test patients of all ages starting as young as 6 months old.
Children from 6-24 months would typically only be tested for food allergies.  Children older than 18-24 months can be tested to inhalant or environmental allergies as well (i.e. dust mite, cat, dog, cockroach, molds, pollens, etc)

Will I know my results of asthma/allergy testing the same day?
Yes. You will receive detailed results with treatment recommendations and medication instructions.

Is it normal to have delayed reactions to skin testing the next day?
Yes, but that does not mean that you are allergic. We look for reactions within the first 20 minutes of testing.

Which insurance plans do you accept?
Please refer to the list of insurances accepted at Covenant Allergy & Asthma Care under the Financial tab of this website. Although we participate in various insurance plans, we strongly recommend that you check with your insurance company to verify coverage for the allergy/asthma testing and treatment you will be receiving from us. Insurance plans vary, depending on plan types, even within the same company, and you are ultimately responsible for charges for your treatment.

What can I expect to pay for the first visit?
Out-of-pocket fees for a typical new patient appointment can be up to $700 after insurance contract adjustments.  Before your appointment, our staff will verify your insurance eligibility and benefits.  After verification, we will call you to discuss your benefits and potential out-of-pocket costs.  Unfortunately, verification of benefits is not a guarantee of coverage.  Insurance companies always issue a disclaimer that benefits are not guaranteed until the claim is processed.  If we have determined that you will have an out-of-pocket expense, you will need to pay that amount at the time of service. If your insurance company requires a referral to our office, please obtain this prior to your visit.

Will you bill me for my co-pay?
Co-pays are expected during check-in for the visit.

Why is it important that I see a board-certified allergist?
Allergists who are board certified have first passed an exam of either the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP) or the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM). Then they complete at least two additional years of study, called a fellowship, in an allergy/immunology training program where they are trained to treat both children and adults.  Allergists/immunologists who are board certified have passed the certifying examination of the American Board of Allergy and Immunology (ABAI), following their fellowship. As a result of this extensive study and training, a board-certified allergist/ immunologist is the best-qualified medical professional to manage comprehensive needs of patients with allergic disease. Studies show that patients under the care of an allergist/immunologist also make fewer visits to emergency rooms and are better able to manage their allergies and asthma on a daily basis. Dr. Raschal is a board-certified allergist.

What are the basic allergies for which you test?
Our standard panel of allergens includes molds, grasses, trees, weeds, and environmental agents (dust mites, cockroach, dog, cat, feathers, etc.) Food allergies are tested on an as-needed basis.  Stinging insects (fire ant, wasp, etc.) are also tested on an as-needed basis.

What medication allergies can you test for?
We only stock penicillin for skin testing; however, we can test for other medications on a case-by-case basis.

What if my dentist wants me to be tested regarding an anesthetic?
We do perform anesthetic testing. However, we don't stock anesthetic because it isn't a common procedure; therefore, you will be asked to obtain the anesthetic from your dentist and bring it with you.

Will I always see a physician on my visits?
We also have a nurse practitioner, Dr. Gwen Carlton, DNP, FNP. She graduated from University of Tennessee Health Science Center in 2008 with her Doctor of Nursing Practice.  She is certified by the National Nurses Credentialing Center as a family nurse practitioner and by the National Asthma Education Certification Board as a certified asthma educator. She has over 30 years of allergy & asthma experience and is capable of diagnosing and treating patients of all ages.

If my allergy doctor recommends that I take shots, do I have to have an appointment each time I take them?
No. We are staffed and organized to accommodate our patients who receive allergy shots. You will register for your shots separately and will be called in the order of your registration.

What if I have additional questions?
Please contact us at 423.468.3267. We will be glad to assist you.