Starship Paediatric Immunology and Allergy
Starship Paediatric Immunology and Allergy provides both inpatient and outpatient services for two main groups of patients:
- children with primary immune deficiency disorders where the immune system does not function properly. Many of these children will have multiple hospital admissions and they will also be seen in outpatients. Some will require ongoing immunoglobulin replacement therapy. The service is involved in the care of immune deficient children from around New Zealand, in liaison with the child's local paediatrician.
- children with allergic disorders. Allergy is extremely common, and most children with allergy will be looked after by their general practitioner, sometimes with the assistance of a general paediatrician. Only a minority of children with allergy will need to be seen by the Starship Immunology and Allergy service. Examples of allergy problems that may need to be seen by the Starship Immunology and Allergy service include very severe allergic reactions / anaphylaxis, complicated food allergy, or severe insect sting reactions. Most allergy patients will be seen only in outpatients.
Open Monday to Friday 8am - 5pm
The Starship Paediatric Immunology and Allergy service receives more referrals than it is possible to see. Many of these referrals will be forwarded to general paediatric services. Referrals from paediatricians or other specialists will always be accepted. Some referrals will be returned to the GP with advice if, from the details in the referral, an appointment is not needed.
The waiting time for an appointment depends on the nature of the referral. Referrals for possible immune deficiency will be seen urgently. Referrals for severe allergic reaction will generally be seen within 6 weeks, while referrals for less urgent allergy problems may wait longer to be seen.
At the clinic your child will be seen by a Consultant Immunologist or an Immunology Registrar (who will discuss each case with the consultant). The doctor will take a detailed history of symptoms and ask about previous illnesses and medications. The history is the crucial part of the consultation. There will be other questions about general health designed to add helpful information to diagnose what is causing your child's symptoms. The doctor will then examine your child. They will explain to you as they go the reasons for the examination and then what tests or treatments are coming. It is helpful to bring your child’s well child book to the appointment, particularly if there are concerns about growth or food allergy.
If relevant, the doctor may ask for skin tests to be performed, either on the first clinic appointment or at a subsequent appointment. Certain skin tests may take some time to perform (e.g. up to 2 hours for some antibiotic allergy tests).
Your child may be started on medications or asked to undergo further testing (e.g. blood tests) before being seen again in the clinic or may be discharged back to your GP for ongoing management. A letter will be sent to your GP (with a copy to the family) with treatment recommendations as well as the results of any tests that are undertaken.
Some patients will need other procedures arranged such as food or drug challenge, or venom immunotherapy. Wait times for these procedures vary considerably depending on clinical urgency.
Procedures / Treatments
Allergy Skin Prick Tests
Many children referred for possible allergies will have skin prick tests done at the time of their appointment.… More
Specific IgE Blood Tests (sometimes called RAST)
Specific IgE (sIgE) tests are a way of doing allergy tests by a blood test rather than a skin test.… More
Deciding whether a child is truly allergic to a food, or deciding whether a food allergy has resolved with time, can be difficult.… More
If a child has a severe allergic reaction/anaphylaxis to a bee or wasp sting, immunotherapy or desensitisation will generally be recommended. This involves giving injections of venom, initially in tiny and then in increasing doses, to make the child tolerant of the venom, which will minimise the risk of a… More
Intravenous and Subcutaneous Immunoglobulin Replacement in Immunodeficiency
C1 Inhibitor Infusions in Hereditary Angioedema
Website of the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy. Links to:
- anaphylaxis resources including action plans and EpiPen teaching resources
- patient information on a variety of allergic conditions (food allergy, allergy prevention, dust mite avoidance etc)
- eczema management information (including on "finger tip units" to guide on use of topical steroids).
Website of the Immune Deficiencies Foundation of New Zealand, a community support organisation for children and families affected by immune deficiency.
Website of Allergy New Zealand, a community support organisation for children and families affected by allergy. Allergy NZ have many useful resources about specific food allergy, education of preschools and schools, and a cook book produced with food allergies in mind.
Australian site with practical advice for families about allergy prevention strategies
Resource specifically for teens and young adults with food allergy
(09) 638 0400 or 0800 PATIENT 0800 728 436 or email@example.com
Open 24 hours / 7 days, Phone (09) 307 4902
GP/External Specialist Help Desk:
2 Park Road
2 Park Road
Starship Child Health
Private Bag 92 024
Auckland Mail Centre
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This page was last updated at 2:22PM on September 23, 2019. This information is reviewed and edited by Starship Paediatric Immunology and Allergy.