Advanced Techniques to Evaluate and Treat Pediatric Allergy and Immunology Conditions
The pediatric allergists and immunologists at Loyola Medicine provide comprehensive evaluation and treatment for a full range of allergy and immunology conditions, including allergies, asthma, sinusitis and immunodeficiency diseases.
Allergies are an immune reaction to a foreign substance, and frequent or repeated reactions can affect quality of life. They can affect your airways, digestive system, skin and sinuses. Symptoms might include nasal congestion, chest tightness, chronic coughing, watery eyes and sneezing. An anaphylactic reaction is a serious medical emergency and must be treated immediately.
An immunodeficiency occurs when the immune system’s ability to fight an infectious disease is weakened or absent. This means the body will have a harder time fighting germs and might be more susceptible to infections.
Loyola’s experienced, fellowship-trained doctors treat a full range of allergies and immunodeficiencies in children and adolescents, including:
- Animal allergies
- Antibody deficiency
- Chronic cough
- Chronic granulomatous disease
- Chronic sinus problems
- Complement deficiency
- Eczema or atopic dermatitis
- Environmental allergies, including mold and pollen
- Food allergies and intolerances
- Hay fever
- Immunodeficiency disorders
- Insect sting sensitivities
- Primary immunodeficiency disorder (PIDD)
- Recurrent infections
- Secondary immune deficiencies
- Selective IgA deficiency
- Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome
Loyola takes a family-centered approach to care, carefully considering your child’s condition, your family, your lifestyle and the environment in which you live. We manage symptoms by having your child avoid the allergens and using medication when necessary. We will develop an allergy or asthma action plan to keep your child safe as he or she lives with the condition. We also help educate school officials and parents in the community about the seriousness of allergies, cross contamination risks and medical responses to anaphylactic reactions.
Loyola’s pediatric allergists work in a multidisciplinary fashion, teaming up with pediatric nurse practitioners, dietitians, endocrinologists, gastroenterologists, dermatologists and social workers. We also consider the patient’s support system as part of our healthcare team, closely collaborating with the patient’s family and pediatrician or primary care doctor. Our allergy and immunology specialists are leaders in their field, actively involved in diagnosis, treatment, research and community education.
Why Choose Loyola for Allergy and Immunology?
Loyola’s pediatric allergy and immunology specialists take an integrated approach to caring for our young patients with allergy and immunology conditions. Our team understands the particular developmental needs of children and ensures that each child receives comprehensive, individualized care. Loyola’s clinicians welcome families to be involved in all aspects of diagnosis, treatment and recovery, and are available to answer any questions and address any concerns you might have.
For decades, Loyola’s Gottlieb Memorial Hospital has been the home of the daily allergy count, which gathers samples of allergens from the air to determine each day’s count of mold, weeds, grass and trees. This is communicated to media across the Chicago area from April to October and represents the official Midwest count.
At Loyola, we understand the importance of continuity of care and will provide seamless communication with your child’s pediatrician through our secure medical information portal, Loyola Connect. You can also access results from your child’s lab tests and evaluations through myLoyola.
How are Allergy and Immunology Conditions Diagnosed?
Children with allergy and immunologic problems may exhibit reactions to foods, animals, insect bites and environmental factors, as well as symptoms of nasal congestion, chest tightness, chronic coughing, poor sleep or dermatitis. The goal of Loyola’s pediatric allergy and immunology specialists is to provide a diagnosis and comprehensive treatment plan for your child as soon as possible.
In order to determine and understand the cause of your child’s symptoms, your child’s doctor will start with your child’s medical history and a complete physical exam. Your child’s doctor may also conduct testing, which may include:
- Allergen skin testing, including patch skin tests
- Blood tests, including immunoglobulin E and complete blood count (CBC)
- Methacholine challenge test (to rule out asthma)
- Nasal endoscopy
- Oral food and drug challenges
- Pulmonary function testing
Immunodeficiency disorders are usually first noticed when a child has a recurring or uncommon infection, especially in the ears, lungs or skin. A blood test will measure the number of white blood cells that your child has and check for immunoglobulins (a group of disease-fighting proteins).
How are Allergy and Immunology Conditions Treated?
For allergies, the best way to reduce your child’s symptoms is to avoid the source of the allergies—particularly if the child is allergic to a food or drug. Over-the-counter antihistamines or corticosteroids can help improve your child’s symptoms.
Allergy shots given frequently over time—called immunotherapy —can keep your child’s body from overreacting to an allergen. Severe allergic reactions need to be treated with epinephrine. If you administer epinephrine, call 911 and immediately take your child to the emergency department.
Children with primary immunodeficiency disorder are usually treated with doses of antibodies to prevent infections. Immunoglobulin replacement treatments will help boost your child’s immune system; and in very severe cases, a child may need a stem cell transplant.