The allergy and asthma clinic provides a tertiary level diagnostic and treatment service for thousands of children each year. While the vast majority of patients attending the clinic come from the Western Cape, a significant number from the other provinces are also seen. By far the largest numbers of children seen are from disadvantaged backgrounds. Considerable emphasis is laid on patient and parent education in the clinic. This has resulted in much improved understanding by parents of the nature of the problem facing their children and the need for regular medication. The number of children with asthma who require admission for acute severe episodes is showing a considerable decline.
New challenges are continually being faced by the clinic staff - allergic diseases are on the increase in the black population and may masquerade as other more prevalent diseases, such as TB and HIV/AIDS. The spectrum of diseases has changed, with less minor allergic diseases (isolated allergic rhinitis, mild asthma, eczema and urticaria) and more complex cases, particularly food allergy cases, comprising a much higher number of consultations. Adverse reaction to drugs is emerging as a significant problem in HIV/AIDS and several children have been referred to the Allergy Clinic for evaluation of these drug reactions and for desensitization. Collaborations with other divisions/services including gastroenterology, dietetics, dermatology, pulmonology, ophthalmology, ENT and infectious diseases are well established. An area of expertise for which there is increasing demand is in the field of controlled food allergy testing and food challenges.
Drug skin and intradermal tests
or drug challenges
or food allergy challenges
Food allergy challenges
Depart meeting, cases and journal club
D3 educational meeting
Teaching and training
Clinical teaching/tutorials weekly to fifth year medical students (small group) and seminar every 8 weeks to the whole group of students assigned to the Paediatric Block. Bedside tutorials regularly to student interns. The clinical educator holds weekly sessions on practical aspects of allergy diagnosis and treatment for 5th year medical students.
Dr Levin is responsible for training of the Allergy Senior Registrar as a specialist in Allergology. One general registrar rotates through allergy to receive appropriate training in this discipline. He also lectures on allergy-related topics to medical officers preparing for the Diploma in Child Health (2 lectures/year) and Fellowship in Paediatrics (1-2 lecture/year). Training is also provided for skin-prick testing, lung function testing and patient education for candidates preparing for the Diploma in Allergology.
Specific allergy meetings include the fortnightly divisional meeting for case history discussions / clinic management issues on Thursdays at 11:30. Regular scheduled "Allergy in Africa" allergy lectures / webinars are held at 8am on Friday mornings.
Patient support: Allergy Foundation of South Africa : A new patient focussed facebook page has been launched where people with severe food allergies and anaphylaxis can network and get more information. Please send your friends, colleagues and patients to Allergy Foundation of South Africa: @SAAllergy for facebook and twitter support.
World Allergy Week Talk:
The talk on emergency and ongoing management of kids with severe allergies and anaphylaxis is now available as a podcast. Please go to http://meeting.uct.ac.za/p93355419/ to view it.