Anything that helps reduce the stress and anxiety of having a child with severe food allergies is a welcome addition to the parenting scene in Colorado.
To help meet the growing needs of families living with food allergies, Children’s Hospital Colorado in Aurora opened a new allergy and immunology center, on February 20. The new center—which houses 12 observation rooms, and more than 11,000 square feet dedicated to allergy and immunology care—is one of the largest in the nation, allowing kids with allergies to get tested, treated, and counseled all in one place.
The new space provides rooms for clinic appointments and food challenges—a test to see if a child is allergic to a food or not in a safe environment. “These challenges are much more accurate [for food allergies] than a skin or blood test,” says Dr. Kirsten Carel, medical director of the Pediatric Allergy Department and Allergy Clinic at Children’s Hospital.
The center has a psychologist on staff to help parents better handle the stress of sending a child with food allergies out into the world on their own, as well as a dietician to educate families about reading food labels and replacing foods in a child’s diet to make sure they’re getting enough nutrients.
The new facility will also give Children’s Hospital Colorado the safest means to participate in new studies to see if certain food products—for example, a peanut patch or capsule taken by mouth—can help reduce the risk and severity of allergic reactions due to accidental ingestion.