1. What are allergists, and what do they do? Allergists are doctors who have been specially trained in the diagnosis and treatment of asthma and other allergic problems, including hay fever, rhinitis, sinusitis, hives (urticaria), swelling (angioedema), and food allergies. A board-certified allergist has been certified in Internal Medicine or Pediatrics as well as Allergy.
2. Where are your offices, and how can I get there? Our New York office is at 345 E. 37th St. New York, NY 10016, and is in the Murray Hill section of Manhattan, convenient to Grand Central Terminal, and the 4, 5, 6, and 7 subways. Our New Rochelle office is at 110 Lockwood Ave, New Rochelle, NY 10801, and is near Montefiore New Rochelle Hospital and the train station.
3. What happens at the first visit? You explain your allergy problems to Dr. Schnipper, who will ask you additional questions in order to obtain a comprehensive history. After a brief physical examination, there may be allergy testing, if appropriate. This is usually a skin test, which takes only a few seconds, and does not use needles. It is much more comfortable than the old-fashioned scratch tests, and is well tolerated by children and adults. It takes about ten minutes to have results. At that time, Dr. Schnipper discusses the results with you. He discusses how to avoid things that you are allergic to, and gives you appropriate medication. The whole visit usually takes less than 45 minutes.
4. How do I prepare for the first visit? If you are able to avoid anthistamines for a week, the allergy tests may be more accurate. However, if this is not possible, you can still come in. Just tell the doctor that you are taking antihistamines. If your insurance requires a referral, you should take care of that before the visit. Bring in your insurance card on the day of visit. We will also collect your co-payment if required by your insurance.
5. What are allergy shots, and how do they work? Allergy shots, or immunotherapy, is a way of making patients less allergic. Each week, the patient receives an injection containing allergens. The dose is slowly increased each week, until the patient develops a tolerance. Once the maintenance does is achieved, shots are continued on a monthly basis. This is usually continued for about three to five years, although some patients choose to continue it for longer.
6. If I have a cat/dog, can allergy shots make me less allergic? Yes! Although most allergists would agree that it is is preferable not to have the pet in the home if you are allergic to it, this is not always possible or practical. For many patients, allergy shots are the best way to allow you to live with an animal that you are allergic to.