The Penn State Health Children’s Hospital Approach to Allergy and Immunology Care
When it comes to treating allergies and immune disorders, the experts at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital put your child’s comfort and health first. We make testing and treatment as pain-free as possible and we want even our smallest patient to feel safe and secure.
Comprehensive Diagnosis and Treatment
Diagnosing and treating allergies and immunology disorders takes an experienced, multidisciplinary team. The more we understand about our child’s allergies and immune system allows us to create a treatment plan tailored to your child’s unique issues.
Managing Your Allergies and Immune Disorders
Keeping your allergies under control or managing symptoms of an immune deficiency can help your child live a more normal life. We know there is a lot to learn about managing your child’s allergies or disease, and our team is here to help. Our team will provide resources and ongoing support to help your child live a healthy life.
Support groups provide children and their families an opportunity to connect with others in similar situations. Learn more about the support groups offered at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital.
Our Experts in Pediatric Allergy and Immunology Care
The experts at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital are committed to providing our pediatric patients with comprehensive and multidisciplinary care.
Why Choose Penn State Health Children’s Hospital for Allergy and Immunology Care
Penn State Health Children’s Hospital provides only the best for your child. We are committed to providing only the highest quality treatment and support, focusing on the unique needs of your child.
Nationally Recognized Care
Penn State Health Children’s Hospital is routinely ranked among the best children’s hospitals in the nation due to our focus on patient care, safety and research.
Multidisciplinary Team Approach
Our allergy and immunology specialists work with a team focused on diagnosing, treating and managing your child’s allergies and immune disorders. In addition to our doctors, our team includes nurse specialists, respiratory therapist, nutritionists and social workers.
Allergy and Immunology Research and Clinical Trials
Penn State Health is researching tomorrow’s tests, treatments and cures for many allergy and immunology conditions. At Penn State Health Children’s Hospital, we are dedicated to improving the understanding of diseases and enhancing treatment and prevention of childhood illnesses through our research. When you come here, you get the latest, researched-backed care. Find out if a clinical trial is right for you.
Penn State Health Children’s Hospital Allergy and Immunology provides care for:
Eosinophilic esophagitis (swelling of the esophagus, or tube in your throat, often caused by allergies)
Food allergy (including oral immunotherapy)
Immunodeficiency (weakened immune system)
Non-allergic (chronic) rhinitis
Venom allergy (bees, wasps, yellow jackets, etc.)
Allergy and immunology resources for patients and families
When your child is diagnosed with an allergy or immune problem, there’s a lot to learn.
What to expect at a new Allergy appointment
Like at any doctor visit, the doctor will talk to you and your child to get a history and also do a physical exam.
If allergy testing is needed, this is done by a method called “scratch” or “skin prick” testing:
A small amount of liquid allergen is gently scratched on the skin of the back so that some of it gets under the skin.
The allergens (tiny wet dots) are left on the skin for about 15 minutes.
We expect one scratch site to get a red, itchy bump, like a hive; and if your child is allergic to anything tested, each of those areas will also develop a hive. There is no significant risk of severe (“full body”) reactions.
Your child will not be allowed to scratch the spots until after the results are read at 15 minutes, but they are allowed to play, walk around, etc.
The results are known at the end of the testing.
The itching and redness generally go away by the time you leave the office, and will not affect your child’s activities later that day.
Testing can be done to environmental allergens, such as grass, tree and weed, pollens, animals, molds and dust mites as well as foods, medications and bee venom, if necessary.
The testing for medication and bee sting allergy is not typically done at the first visit.
At the end of the visit, your doctor will go over any testing results and the treatment plan.
Another test typically for children over 5 years of age, is a breathing test (pulmonary function testing). This involves breathing into a mouthpiece connected to a computer which is not painful or invasive.
We have an active clinical science research program and frequently seek volunteers to participate in clinical trials. These studies help our scientists improve diagnostic techniques, develop better treatments, and collaborate with other researchers.