Allergy and immunology care for infants, children and teens
Dedicated pediatric team members
Food challenges available each year
Our Allergy and Immunology Center is one of the largest of its kind, featuring more clinic rooms and food/drug challenge space than any facility in the region. The Center is dedicated solely to the management of pediatric patients with allergic and immunologic diseases.
Our pediatric allergy and immunology specialists believe the best way to improve quality of life for young patients is a multidisciplinary approach to the management of allergies and immune disorders. Our outpatient, emergency and inpatient services at Children's Hospital Colorado include a variety of pediatric subspecialists, strengthening our ability to provide a full spectrum of care.
We provide pediatric expertise for children who have allergic conditions, immune deficiencies and autoimmune diseases. Our multidisciplinary pediatric allergy and immunology specialists work together to treat these patients and understand the causes of these conditions so they can deliver better and more comprehensive care.
Conditions we treat in our Allergy and Immunology Center
Our areas of pediatric expertise include:
- Atopic dermatitis/eczema: Atopic dermatitis/eczema is a common itchy, scaly, red rash, often found in the folds of the elbows and knees, but also on the face and other parts of the body. Eczema is most often a "stand-alone" allergic disease, but in a small percentage of cases, this could be a symptom triggered by other allergies.
- Food allergy: A food allergy is an adverse immune system response to a food protein that can result in symptoms that affect different parts of the body.
- Asthma (including exercise-induced asthma): Asthma is a lung disease that causes the airways (breathing tubes in the lungs) to get smaller by narrowing, making it hard to breathe.
- Vocal cord dysfunction: Vocal cord dysfunction (VCD), also called paradoxical vocal fold motion, happens when the vocal cords spasm and don't stay open like they should when breathing in, and sometimes when breathing out.
- Allergic and non-allergic rhinitis: Allergens from animals, pollens (trees, grasses and weeds) and molds can cause symptoms like sneezing, stuffiness, post-nasal drip or itchy/red eyes.
- Chronic sinusitis: Chronic sinusitis occurs when a child has chronic nasal symptoms caused by bacterial infection, typically lasting more than two weeks.
- Drug allergy: Medications can cause allergic and non-allergic reactions. An allergist can help determine if the reaction is serious enough to avoid in the future, or if the reaction was due to other factors.
- Insect sting/bite sensitivity: Venom-containing insects that can cause allergic reactions include honeybees, wasps, hornets, yellow jackets and fire ants. While some stings can cause mild reactions, some may also cause anaphylaxis (a severe allergic reaction).
- Animal allergy: All cats, dogs and other furry pets can cause allergy symptoms. They can affect the eyes, nose, lungs and skin. Animal allergies are caused by proteins on their hair and in their dander (dead skin that is shed); these proteins are also found in animal saliva (spit) and urine.
- Angioedema: Angioedema is swelling of the skin and tissues under it. This can be triggered by a food or environmental allergy, but more commonly is part of a viral illness, or simply as its own diagnosis where there is no trigger.
- Acute and chronic urticaria (hives): Hives are red, itchy raised bumps characteristic of an allergic reaction, which can be acute (lasting less than six weeks) or chronic (lasting more than six weeks). Hives can be caused by foods or medications, or other skin irritants.
- Anaphylaxis: Symptoms of anaphylaxis include two or more of the following: itching and hives, swelling in the throat or tongue, trouble breathing, dizziness, stomach cramps, nausea, throwing up, diarrhea and a fall in blood pressure (which can result in shock and passing out). Anaphylaxis needs to be treated immediately, and may require evaluation in an emergency room.
- Severe combined immune deficiency (SCID): SCID is a life-threatening disorder in which a child's disease-fighting immune system T-cells and B-cells are absent or broken. Children with SCID are susceptible to severe, frequent and unusual infections.
- Combined immune deficiency (CID): CID is a group of serious disorders of the immune system in which affected children are susceptible to severe, frequent and unusual infections, but not typically to the same degree as SCID.
- Antibody deficiency disorders: Antibody deficiency disorders are a collection of diseases in which affected children cannot make antibodies effectively. Examples of antibody deficiency disorders include Bruton's agammaglobulinemia and common variable immune deficiency (CVID).
- Syndromic immune deficiency: Syndromic immune deficiencies are genetic syndromes that affect the immune system, such as DiGeorge syndrome (22q11 deletion syndrome).
- Hyperimmunoglobulin syndromes: Hyper immunoglobulin syndromes are disorders that cause a child's body to make too much of a certain type of immunoglobulin (antibody), such as hyper IgE syndrome, hyper IgM syndrome, and hyper IgD syndrome.
- Immune dysregulation disorders: Immune dysregulation disorders are diseases that cause severe autoimmune conditions as well as other issues with the immune system. Examples of immune dysregulation disorders are IPEX syndrome and IPEX-like syndromes.
- Neutrophil disorders: Neutrophil disorders are diseases in which neutrophils (a type of white blood cell) do not work properly or cannot move appropriately. Examples of neutrophil disorders we treat include chronic granulomatous disease and leukocyte adhesion deficiency.
- Complement deficiency disorders: Complement deficiency disorders are diseases in which affected children do not produce certain complement proteins effectively. Properdin deficiency is an example of this type of disorder.
- Natural killer cell deficiency: Natural killer cell deficiency is a type of disorder in which natural killer cells (a type of white blood cell) are either absent or do not work properly. Children with natural killer cell deficiency are susceptible to certain types of viral infections and can develop a life-threatening disease called hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH).
Allergy and immunology treatment and services offered
Our comprehensive pediatric allergy and immunology care includes:
- Allergy evaluations, including a thorough history and physical examination
- Allergen skin testing
- Laboratory testing
- Food challenges
- Food allergy expert dietitian support
- Drug challenges
- Allergen immunotherapy
- Pulmonary function testing
- Radiographic imaging, including X-ray CT and MRI
- Psychosocial evaluation and treatment
- Diagnostic testing (blood, imaging, genetic)
- Antibody replacement therapy (IVIG, SCIG)
- Biologic agent therapy
- Bone marrow transplant
- Multidisciplinary collaborations
Why choose Children's Colorado for allergy and immunology treatment?
We offer extensive diagnostic testing for infants and older children. Our experienced staff of doctors, nurses, dietitians, psychologists, social workers and child life therapists work together to evaluate and treat patients with allergies and immunological conditions. Our team uses a collaborative approach that will incorporate your entire family and your child's primary care provider.
Our immunology care team includes pediatric immunology specialists, physical and occupational therapists, social workers and nurse specialists. We include these specialists in diagnosis, treatment, education and rehabilitation planning. We also work closely with other pediatric experts at Children's Colorado to provide children with the most comprehensive care.
Allergy and immunology research
Our pediatric allergy and immunology specialists at Children's Colorado are nationally and internationally renowned leaders in the research of allergy, asthma and immune disorders and treatments.
We partner with the University of Colorado School of Medicine to provide professional education and knowledge advancement through our research. Our specialists are at the forefront of evaluating new methods of allergy testing and allergy treatment.
Our researchers work to understand allergic and inflammatory reactions, and then seek new ways to safely regulate those responses. Our facility is also a site for Colorado's SCID Newborn Screening Program and bone marrow transplantation of SCID patients.
Get to know our pediatric immunology experts.
Get to know our pediatric allergy experts.
Children's Colorado in the news
A study published in Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology found that people who are allergic to one nut may not necessarily be allergic to other types of nuts. "The practice of avoiding all peanut and tree nuts because of a single-nut allergy may not be necessary," said Dr. Matthew Greenhawt, co-author of the study. Read the article in NBC News and see additional coverage in Forbes.