Allergy & Immunology

Pediatric allergy symptoms include sneezing

When it comes to asthma and allergies in kids (and conditions related to the immune system), Nemours’ highly trained and experienced pediatric allergy, asthma and immunology teams can help. Our goals are simple: To relieve symptoms as quickly as possible and give you the tools you’ll need to best manage your child’s allergy condition at home.

 
Read More About Pediatric Allergy & Immunology

Nemours’ pediatric allergists diagnose and treat asthma and all types of allergies in children, from hay fever to food allergies. Our immunologists (doctors who specialize in malfunctions of the immune system such as autoimmune diseases, hypersensitivities, immune deficiency and transplant rejection) have a high level of expertise in diagnosing and treating immune system conditions in children, such as immune deficiency.

We’ll perform a complete exam and ask about symptoms, severity and timing. And we’ll work closely with Nemours’ experts from other pediatric specialty areas to provide a long-term management plan tailored to your pediatric allergy, asthma, or immunology needs.

Common Pediatric Allergy Signs, Symptoms, and Conditions

Some of the reasons families like yours often come to us include:

  • wheezing
  • asthma
  • eczema (an itchy rash, also called “atopic dermatitis”)
  • hives
  • food reactions
  • allergies affecting the nose and eyes
  • allergies affecting the stomach and intestines
  • drug reactions
  • exercise intolerance
  • recurrent infections
  • recurrent cold-like symptoms
  • recurrent fever

Newtown Square

Nemours duPont Pediatrics, Newtown Square

Main Line Health Center
3855 W. Chester Pike, Suite 280
Newtown Square, PA 19073
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For Appointments: (302) 651-4200
For Information: (610) 557-4800

Hours: Wednesday, 1–7 p.m.

 
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How to Prepare
Before Your Child’s Allergy and Immunology Appointment

Here are some important tips to follow before your child’s appointment with our allergy and immunology team:

  • Stop all antihistamines, if possible, 7 days before your appointment — they interfere with skin testing. This includes medicines such as Zyrtec, Claritin, Clarinex, Allegra, Benadryl, Hydoxyzine, Periactin, Chlorpheniramine and most over-the-counter cold medicines.
  • Continue all asthma medicines, especially any inhalers. DO NOT STOP medicines such as Flovent, Advair, Singulair or Pulmicort.
  • If your child is on antidepressants, please call us because some antidepressants will interfere with skin tests. DO NOT STOP these medicines without speaking to us.

If you have any questions, please call our office at (610) 557-4800.

 
What to Bring
  • photo ID
  • medical and pharmacy insurance cards
  • preferred pharmacy name and phone number
  • names and dosage of all medications, including over-the-counter medication, your child is currently taking
  • guardianship and custody papers, if a legal guardian rather than a parent accompanies your child
New Patients

Bring these forms for your first appointment:

Returning Patients
 
Forms & Resources
New Patient Forms
Returning Patient Forms
Resources for Patients & Families

At Nemours duPont Pediatrics, Newtown Square, Penn., we understand how allergies can impact your child’s — and your family’s — quality of life, and we want to help. That’s why the pediatric allergy, asthma and immunology specialists from Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children come to Newtown Square, and also to our Philadelphia and Voorhees (N.J.) locations, to extend convenient, expert pediatric allergy care to kids living in Delaware Valley and beyond.

Expert Allergy and Immunology Care for Kids in Pennsylvania

The highly trained allergy, asthma and immunology team at Nemours duPont Pediatrics, Newtown Square treats all types of allergic and immune system conditions in children.

If your child is experiencing asthma or allergy symptoms, we’ll work to relieve them as quickly as possible and give you the tools and know-how you need to manage ongoing care. We also treat autoimmune diseases, hypersensitivities, immune deficiencies and transplant rejection using the most effective medicines and immunotherapy (such as allergy shots and target therapy).

 
What to Expect at Your Child's Visit to Nemours duPont Pediatrics, Newton Square

At your first visit, our board-certified doctors, physician assistants and nurse practitioners will perform a complete medical and family history assessment, as well as a comprehensive physical exam. We’ll also ask many questions about your child’s symptoms, their severity and timing. (For example, do they appear or tend to get worse at a certain time of the year, after eating a certain food or during exercise?)

Based on our findings, and to help diagnose your child's problem, we may then perform further tests such as those listed below.

 
Testing for Allergies in Kids
  • Skin testing: Lightly scratching the skin with a potential allergen (a substance that can cause an allergic reaction, such as pet dander, dust, pollen and foods) and then evaluating the skin’s response.
  • Patch testing: Applying various adhesive patches that each contain a potential allergen to the skin and then checking the skin’s reaction 48 hours later*
  • Food challenges: Feeding your child small amounts of a food suspected of being an allergen in the presence of a doctor, who can evaluate and, if necessary, safely counteract any allergic response. (We only do this if we’ve determined it’s safe for your child. This kind of testing should never be done at home.)*

*Often not performed on the initial visit, and may require a visit to Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, Wilmington, Del.

We also may order:
  • tests for drug allergies (allergies to various medicines)
  • blood tests that check for specific antibodies (cells made by the immune system in response to certain allergens)
  • tests that evaluate the overall function of the immune system
  • spirometry, chest X-rays and other diagnostic evaluations to check your child’s lung function
 
Common Sign, Symptoms and Conditions We See
Some of the reasons families often come to us include:
  • wheezing
  • asthma
  • eczema (an itchy rash, also called “atopic dermatitis”)
  • hives
  • food reactions
  • allergies affecting the nose and eyes
  • allergies affecting the stomach and intestines
  • drug reactions
  • exercise intolerance
  • reoccurring) infections, cold-like symptoms or fever

Learn More About These and Other Children's Health Topics From Nemours KidHealth.org »

 
Taking a Team Approach to Child Allergies and Immunology

Our allergy and immunology team works closely with Nemours experts from other pediatric specialty areas including:

  • pulmonology (respiratory care): who can help children with breathing problems like asthma
  • gastroenterology (digestive health): who can help kids with symptoms affecting the digestive tract
  • infectious diseases: who can help children with recurring infections
  • otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat/ENT): who can help kids with chronic sinusitis (sinus infections)
  • dermatology: who help children with skin diseases
  • rheumatology: who help children with autoimmune diseases

For children with asthma, our asthma care clinic (run jointly with the pulmonology team) offers fully coordinated care, providing your family with the tools you need to successfully manage the disease.

Learn About Our Asthma Services at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children »

 
Partnering With You to Help Manage Your Child's Condition

We know that no one knows your child better than you do and that you’re one of the most important parts of your child’s care team. That’s why we make every effort to include you in the process and to create a close relationship built on mutual respect, collaboration and education.

We’ll make sure you understand:
  • how your child’s allergy or asthma is triggered
  • how to avoid those triggers (or allergens, which can cause or worsen asthma or allergy symptoms)
  • what treatment options are available
  • how to use any treatment devices we may prescribe (such as inhalers or epinephrine injectors)
  • how you and your child can best manage the condition, every day

Our nurses and respiratory therapists also are available to answer any questions you or your child may have.

Learn More About the Nemours Commitment to Family-Centered Care »

 
Keeping Everyone in the Loop

Our teams fully communicate with each other and with you, so that every member has the very latest information. And all of your child’s care team members have access to our award-winning electronic health record system (EHR), which allows your child’s caregivers to securely communicate and share medical information about your child quickly and efficiently.

Through our EHR, your child’s care team members can view clinical notes, lab results, other test results and your child’s medical history on their computers simultaneously at any time so that everyone’s always on the same page about your child’s care. Also you have your own online access to your child’s medical records 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at MyNemours.

Learn More About MyNemours »

 
Frequently Asked Questions About Skin Testing
Q: Does it hurt?

Skin testing may sound scary, but it’s actually pretty simple and painless. Small plastic applicators are used to scratch the skin’s surface with the allergens. There might be some itchiness that goes away quickly.

Q: How do you know which allergens to test for?

Your child’s medical history will help your doctor or nurse determine which type(s) of skin testing your child might need.

Q: Where does my child have to go for skin testing?

The testing is usually done in our office. A nurse generally administers the test and your doctor interprets the results.

Q: How long does it take?

Testing typically takes between 30 and 60 minutes. Tests usually detect immediate allergic reactions, which develop within minutes of exposure to an allergen.

Q: Where on the skin is the testing done?

The tests will be applied to your child’s forearm or back, depending on your child’s age.

Q: How is the testing done?

The nurse will then apply drops of allergen extracts (pet dander, dust, pollen, foods, etc.) on your child’s skin. These will then be scratched into the skin's surface. After we’ve looked over the test results, the nurse or doctor will talk to you about what the allergies are and how to best avoid the related allergens.

If you have any questions or concerns before or after skin testing, please call our allergy nurses.

 
What You Should Know About Patch Testing

For testing that needs a longer time period (days instead of minutes), we’ll use patch testing.

Here’s how it works:
  1. We’ll apply the patches onto your child’s skin, usually on the back.
  2. We’ll place patches with suspected allergens onto your child’s back and secure them with tape.
  3. Your child will then need to wear the patches for 48 hours. Showers, swimming, and strenuous activity should be avoided so the patches stay in place. (Sponge baths are OK, as long as the back is not disturbed.)
  4. Your child will then come back to see us at or after 72 hours to have the patch testing area read.
 
Can Kids With an Egg Allergy Get Vaccines?

Because certain vaccines are made by growing viruses on chicken egg cells, some children can have a reaction. Specifically:

  • Flu vaccine: If your child has had a severe reaction after eating eggs or a reaction to the flu shot itself, you should have your child evaluated by our allergists. We can then administer any flu shots, if needed.
  • MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) or varicella (chickenpox) vaccines: According to standard vaccination guidelines, children with an egg allergy should be able to get the MMR or varicella vaccines with little or no risks. However, if your child’s primary care pediatrician is uncomfortable administering the vaccinations, we can give them at our office.

Whether your child has asthma, an allergy or an immune system condition, know that at Nemours we do whatever it takes to give your child the very best, most comprehensive and compassionate treatment possible. We treat every child as we would our own — your child, our promise.