Allergy & Immunology
The Paediatric Allergy and Immunology Department at John Hunter Children's Hospital is committed to improve the lives of children with allergy and immune disorders.
The immune system is a complex network of cells and proteins that protect the body against infection. Specialists at John Hunter Children's Hospital provide comprehensive specialist advice regarding management of all aspects of paediatric allergy and immune system related disorders. Special areas of interest are food allergy, eczema and primary immune deficiencies.
The team consists of a doctor, clinical nurse consultant and paediatric dietician, with established links with the paediatric respiratory, dermatology, gastroenterology and rheumatology services. The service also liaises with adult immunology colleagues.
What services are provided?
The service provides both inpatient and outpatient care to children (0-16 years of age) with allergy and immune disorders.
Allergy diagnosis is made on the basis of a detailed history, including a birth history, family history, detailed history of reaction to food, growth and development and dietary history. Skin prick tests (watch video) and blood tests may be organised and a food challenge may be recommended. If patient has had anaphylaxis or is found to be at risk of anaphylaxis on the basis of history then an Epipen/Anapen may be prescribed. Our Clinical Nurse Consultant will provide education to the family in the use of the Epipen/Anapen and will also educate the staff at the preschool or school the child attends.
A Clinical Nurse Consultant also provides education in the management of eczema including the application of wet dressings.
Skin prick tests (SPT) are provided by the Paediatric Respiratory Laboratory. An appointment to the Paediatric Allergy Clinic automatically gets you an appointment for a SPT which if done during your clinic visit will be interpreted by Dr Bhatia and appropriate advice will be provided in our clinic. You may be referred by your General Practitioner directly to the respiratory lab for a SPT, however the lab does not provide any interpretation of the SPT, that will need to be done by your referring doctor.
The service also organises and performs food challenges every Wednesday. These challenges are important to confirm food allergies and also to determine if your child has outgrown the food allergy.
Immunotherapy services are also available in conjunction with our adult immunology clinics.
Dietary advice for avoidance of foods your child is allergic to as well as advice in maintaining a nutritionally adequate diet and the institution of an elimination diet if required is provided by our allergy dietitian.
Intravenous immunoglobulin therapy to patients with primary immune deficiencies is also provided.
How do I make an appointment?
Your general practitioner or specialist can send a referral to Paediatric Allergy Services through the Paediatric Outpatient Department. Referrals can be faxed on (02)49 223904.
Please make sure that your doctor includes all relevant details. Based on that information the referral will be triaged to either urgent (seen within 30 days) or non-urgent.
John Hunter Children's Hospital Administration
8.00am - 4.30pm Monday to Friday
Ph: (02)49 213670 for all appointment enquiries
Outside the hours please contact John Hunter Switch on (02) 49 213000.