Immunology services encompass a wide range of practices, including immunogenicity, immunotoxicology, functional and in vitro assays and biomarkers.
Generally, clinics that provide immunology services also work with patients who experience disorders of the immune system, such as those with recurrent infections, recurrent fevers, family history of immune deficiency, and diseases characterized by immune deficiency. However, immunology services can also be helpful n understanding asthma and common allergies.
Allergy Immunology Clinics
Immunology services include allergy clinics and testing, allowing you to better understand and manage your allergies. Many different services are provided by an allergy immunology clinic, including:
- Skin prick testing to determine allergies
- The assessment and management of food related allergies
- Management of outdoor and environmental seasonal allergies
- Management of adverse reactions to vaccinations
- Idiopathic anaphylaxis
Pediatric allergists are able to prevent, diagnose and treat allergies and immunologic disorders in children. Some of these disorders include:
- Allergic rhinitis
- Eye irritation
- Chronic sinus infections
- Skin irritations, such as eczema
Testing Your Child for Allergies
When visiting a pediatric allergist, there are many different tests that can be administered to find the source of your child’s allergies and chronic irritations. Understanding the environmental matter that leads to your child’s discomfort is the first critical step in creating a treatment plan to ensure they live a healthy and happy life.
- Skin tests- This form of allergen testing is a great way to find allergies related to airborne particles, food, insects and more. This is the most common form of allergen testing and involves applying a diluted form of an allergen to a prick or scratch at the top layer of your child’s skin. The child is then monitored after for adverse affects.
- Blood (in vitro) tests- When skin tests are unable to be administered, a blood test may be the next best option for finding the source of your child’s allergies. However, this form of testing is not as sensitive as the skin test.
- Elimination diet test- If you or your pediatric allergist suspects your child may have a food allergy, you may be directed to remove certain foods from your child’s diet, such as milk, soy, eggs, peanuts, wheat, shellfish or other tree nuts. An allergist may also give your child a suspected food allergen in a small dose, in order to study the reaction.
Allergy Treatment for Your Child
Once the pediatric allergist has identified an allergy, they can then recommend a wide variety of treatment options for your child, tailored to the specific allergy and risk level of your child.
- Avoidance- Avoidance may be the least invasive form of allergy treatment for your child and involves keeping your child away from the environmental factors that can lead to an allergic reaction. Some examples include:
- Remaining indoors with the windows closed when allergy season begins
- Dustproof the home
- Ensure children are not exposed or ingesting the foods that lead to allergic reactions
- Wash bedding and clothes often to remove dust mites
- Medicine- Some allergies may only require over-the-counter medications to stop symptoms.
- Medication for congestion- Having a nasal spray on hand will ensure your child can get relief when they experience nasal congestion. These products come in the form of pills, liquid, nasal sprays or nose drops.
- Immunotherapy- If your child suffers from chronic allergic reactions and is unable to get away from the source of their allergies, it may be time to consider allergy shots to build up your child’s immune system.