Allergy and Immunology
The Department of Allergy and Clinical Immunology helps children with immunodeficiencies or children requiring immunotherapy, and children with allergic conditions such as anaphylaxis, food allergy, severe eczema, and drug and stinging insect allergy.
The Department of Allergy and Clinical Immunology offers services to children with primary immunodeficiencies and complex and/or serious allergic conditions such as anaphylaxis, multiple or complex food allergy, severe eczema, drug allergy, stinging insect allergy, chronic urticaria (hives) and allergic rhinitis not responsive to usual treatments. We also offer a service for children who have had adverse reactions to vaccinations or who have medical conditions that may increase their risk of an adverse event following vaccination. We have a strong research focus in the areas of vaccinology and food allergy treatments. Both inpatient and outpatient services are offered including:
- Diagnostic testing such as skin prick tests and inpatient food and drug challenges
- Immunotherapy for insect venom and aeroallergens such as pollens and house dustmites
- Complex drug allergy assessment
- Immunoglobulin replacement
- Nutrition Assessment and Counselling
How to access this service
The department is located at the WCH campus and access to services are available by medical referral only. We are a Paediatric service and do not accept referrals for adults.
All children must have a referral from an Medical Practitioner before an appointment is made. This referral should be detailed and include the current problem, clinical symptoms, treatments in place, current medical management and any other relevant information. All referrals are triaged and assigned urgency according to clinical criteria.
A lack of clinical information may result in the referral being declined pending further information which may lead to unnecessary delay. Please note that currently demand exceeds recommended waiting times. Referring doctors needing urgent advice should contact the on-call Immunologist via Switchboard 8161 7000. Private options are also available: https://www.allergy.org.au/patients/locate-a-specialist
Making an appointment
Appointments are made by the administrative staff according to the triage code and when appointments are available. A waiting list letter is sent on receipt of a referral.
Monday to Friday, 8am – 4pm
- Level 6 , Zone B /Reiger building
Frequently asked questions (FAQ) for parents
Appointments are made once the referral has been reviewed by a Doctor or Nurse Practitioner and allocated an appropriate triage code (categorisation of urgency). This is based on the clinical information received. You will then receive a letter indicating that your child is on the waiting list. Wait times vary depending on the allergy problem.
All referrals are sent to an administration area, sorted and then sent to the department. You can call the Admin Hub on 8161 6095 or 8161 7399 to check if your referral has been received.
Yes, there are quite a few Paediatric Allergists and Immunologists in the community. Please speak to your GP about this or refer to https://www.allergy.org.au/pat... for further details.
Please make an appointment with your referring doctor and ask them to update your referral. Our administrative staff cannot take information over the phone about clinical symptoms.
Please call us as soon as possible and we will remove your child’s name from our waiting list. This allows an appointment for another child.
If your child is unexpectedly sick or you have another reason to cancel please inform us as soon as possible which will allow us to use the appointment for another child. There may be an extended waiting time until we can reschedule your appointment due to demand.
No and there are a few reasons for this. Attending an appointment with an unwell child puts our staff and the other patients at risk. We also cannot perform skin prick testing for food allergy if your child is unwell as this increases the risk of an allergic reaction to the testing. If you are unsure if your child is too unwell to attend please call us.
If your child has taken an antihistamine within three days of sin prick testing your appointment will need to be cancelled as antihistamines do interfere with our testing.
Your child will be weighed and measured and then called in to see the Doctor or Nurse Practitioner. We will ask you about symptoms, current medications and previous test results if you have been seen elsewhere.
Food Allergy: We can test for common foods but you may need to bring along less common foods for testing. Please ring us for advice if you are unsure.
Drug Allergy – we require details of all previous drugs taken, any symptoms and how soon they started and how long they lasted. We usually send out a request for further information to you prior to the appointment.
Immunodeficiency – we will require a full medical history that includes information about previous infections and any inherited immune system disorders in the family. Blood tests are usually required as part of the investigations.
Clinics may not be running on time so please allow up to 2 hours for your appointment.
If the problem is for hay fever, anaphylaxis, food allergy or eczema where food is thought to be a contributing factor then your child will likely need a skin prick test. This involves a nurse placing an extract on the back or forearm and then pricking through this into the top layer of the skin. After 15 minutes a wheal (small lump) may have developed in response to the allergen. This is then measured and the Doctor or Nurse Practitioner will interpret the test in conjunction with your child’s clinical history. The test is not painful but is itchy and can cause distress in younger children.
Children attending the drug allergy clinic or immunodeficiency clinic do not require skin prick testing but may require a blood test. Your doctor will discuss this with you.
If we have not seen your child we cannot provide these. Your referring doctor (GP or Paediatrician) can complete these and can call us for advice if required.
If you are an existing patient you can get your EpiPen prescription and Action plan from your GP as continuing supply (EpiPen) and by printing off an Action Plan from www.allergy.org.au.
Allergy Department Administration – 8161 8638
Medical Unit Head – Dr Patrick Quinn