The number of children with one or more allergic diseases continues to increase*. To generate the best, highly specialized care for these children, the UMCG has opened the Children's Allergy & Asthma Center. In the center, doctors, nurses and researchers from different departments will work together in the diagnosis and treatment of children with (suspected) allergic diseases and asthma. The center is part of the Beatrix Children's Hospital of the University Medical Center Groningen and was officially opened with a symposium on September 23rd, 2016.
The Children's Allergy & Asthma Center offers expertise in the field of diagnosis and treatment of allergic diseases of the respiratory tract, the skin and the gastrointestinal tract as well as food or drug allergy or allergy to insect venom. The focus is on complex care for children who have severe several allergies at once, or children who develop a severe allergic reaction to drugs used for the treatment of cancer or arthritis. Such an allergic reaction can be expressed by a reaction of the skin, eyes or respiratory tract, but also by the cardiovascular tract or gastrointestinal tract.
Where, for example hay fever will trigger irritated eyes and problems with the upper respiratory tract, a food or insect venom allergy can give a very serious and life-threatening reaction, such as anaphylactic shock. In such a shock, the airways can swell dangerously, blood pressure can drop severely and organ failure may occur. In that case, direct administration of adrenaline is important to stop the reaction. Without treatment, a severe allergic reaction be fatal. But there are also less severe acute reactions. An allergic reaction to a cancer treatment, for which no alternative is available, can be life-threatening as well.
Care for these complex patients will be designed in close cooperation and coordination with the health care providers and hospitals in the region. In addition to patient care the center offers tailored education and research activities. The center brings together nurses, doctors and researchers from different departments, such as (pediatric) allergy, (pediatric) pulmonology, dermatology and ENT specialists.
* It is expected that 50% of people in the European Union has an allergic condition in 2025. Of these, some 100 million people have allergic rhinitis, 70 million people have asthma, and 17 million people have a food allergy.