Specialised care

Allergological specialised medical care includes clarification of the allergic cause of illnesses, early diagnosis of asthma and pulmonary function studies performed on small children. The Skin and Allergy Hospital has the only whole body plethysmograph that measures the pulmonary function of infants in the Nordic countries. In addition, the Department of Allergology is specialised in food allergies, drug hypersensitivities, allergy desensitisation, provocation tests performed with allergens, clarifying the cause of severe allergic reactions, treatment of severe asthma, quality control of allergen products, specification of allergens from environmental samples and pollen control in outdoor air.
 

Allergological operations in pulmonary diseases

 
Asthma examinations requiring specialist skills, differential diagnostic clarifications of shortness of breath, work-related asthma symptoms, work capacity evaluations and treatment of severe asthma are all part of allergological work in pulmonary diseases. Along with other obstructive pulmonary diseases, the day ward cares for prolonged or severe exacerbation of asthma.
 

Drug provocation tests

 
The most common causes of drug allergy include antibiotics and analgesics. In many cases, both are used during infections. Many manifestations of drug allergy, such as eczema, local oedematous areas or shortness of breath can be caused by a drug allergy but also only by an infection or, sometimes, a combination of these. Although blood or skin tests are sometimes used to examine drug allergies, there are no laboratory tests that can rule out drug allergy with any certainty. The only reliable method of clarifying if the symptoms that have arisen during the use of the drug and resemble allergic symptoms are caused by the drug in question is to perform a drug provocation test when the patient is not suffering from a concurrent infection. Drug provocation tests are performed in the Department of Allergology day ward under supervision.
 

Desensitisation


Desensitisation can be used for IgE-mediated allergic rhinitis and conjunctivitis, asthma, wasp and bee sting allergy and food allergy. It aims to increase the body’s tolerance to allergens, thus reducing allergic symptoms. The most common condition that desensitisation is used for is pollen allergy (birch or grass pollen allergy). Depending on the allergen, desensitisation is implemented as subcutaneous injections or with sublingual tablets. In most cases, the desensitisation takes three years. With regard to the desensitisation of food, milk desensitisation implemented with milk is the most commonly studied.
 

Pediatric pulmonary function tests


The Pediatric Unit of the Skin and Allergy Hospital can also examine the respiratory symptoms of infants with a whole body plethysmograph that measures the pulmonary function. This examination is performed on an outpatient basis and under supervision. It may be necessary if asthma is suspected in an infant.
 

Pediatric food allergy tests

 
The Pediatric Unit performs pediatric food allergy tests. After preliminary, regular allergy examinations (e.g. skin-prick tests), small amounts of the food suspected to be the cause of the allergic symptoms can be given to the child under supervised conditions, while concurrently monitoring the condition of the patient and possible appearance of symptoms. During food provocation tests, the child is monitored on the day ward from morning until afternoon. Whenever food allergy examinations are performed, nursing staff are always prepared for the treatment of possible allergy symptoms.
 

Food desensitisation


In the case of severe food allergies, desensitisation can sometimes be used if the cause of the allergy is difficult to avoid or the allergy symptoms are difficult. Before the desensitisation is started, the allergy is confirmed with tests. Food desensitisation starts under supervision and according to a plan. In addition to milk allergy, food desensitisation has been studied in the treatment of wheat, nut and egg allergy.

 

Department of Allergology otorhinolaryngologist and ophthalmologist

 
Insofar as they are related to allergic problems, the Department of Allergology examines and treats ear, nose and throat diseases and eye diseases in adults and children. Typically, patients coming in for examinations suffer from prolonged, difficult rhinitis, maxillary sinus symptoms or recurrent, difficult-to-treat allergy symptoms of the eyes. Allergen provocation tests of the nose or eyes in which a small amount of the allergen infusion is dropped in the nose or conjunctiva require specialist skills. The test is performed under supervision and the development of possible allergic reactions (itchiness, blocked and runny nose, itchiness, stinging and redness of the eyes) is followed. Whenever allergy tests are performed, the nursing staff is always prepared for the treatment of allergy symptoms.
 

Co-operation with units outside the Skin and Allergy Hospital

 
Meilahti Pulmonary Unit
In the case of severe exacerbation of asthma, for example, round-the-clock specialised medical care is possible at Meilahti Triangle Hospital, which co-operates with the Department of Allergology. In addition to round-the-clock care, radiographies and bronchoscopies are implemented at Meilahti according to need.
 
Children’s Hospital

In the case of severe exacerbation of asthma in connection with a respiratory tract infection, for example, round-the-clock specialised medical care is possible in the Children’s Hospital, which co-operates with the Department of Allergology. Furthermore, radiographies and bronchoscopies are implemented at the Children’s Hospital according to need.
 

Experts


As a part of a multidisciplinary care team, physiotherapists, a chiropodist, rehabilitation counsellor, social worker and therapeutic dietician work at the Department of Allergology.
 
Physical therapy is used to rehabilitate patients with asthma. In addition, this unit performs examinations of respiration functional disturbances and treats pain and swelling caused by a leg ulcer. A physiotherapist assists with and offers advice and guidance on matters and problems related to moving and functional capacity. He or she selects the medical appliances appropriate for moving, draws up an individual training programme and arranges further physical therapy, when necessary.
A chiropodist implements the treatment procedures of the feet and legs as prescribed by physician.
 
A rehabilitation counsellor provides asthma guidance and medical appliance counselling and performs home visits in the case of indoor air problems.

A therapeutic dietician assists in compiling allergy diets for adults and children and provides nutritional counselling.
Social workers attend to the benefits of chronically ill patients and clarify the psychosocial problems introduced by the disease. In addition, social workers help with problems caused by disease or an accident, including matters related to health insurance, compensations, livelihood, home assistance and adjustment training.
 
A photographer takes photographs of skin alterations. In addition to the patient’s treatment, these images are used for training and research. The image bank serves the entire country.