child blowing nose

The immune system has a very important role of protecting the body from, and responding to, infections. Allergic disorders, such as food allergies and Hayfever occur when the immune system responds inappropriately to things in the environment that are otherwise harmless to others. Immunodeficiency disorders occur when the immune system cannot properly fight infections, resulting in either recurrent or severe infections.

Allergic disease and immune deficiencies most often develop in the pediatric population. Our specialists focus on comprehensive evaluation and care of these conditions, treatment options for children, and how these immune issues can affect a child’s development and nutrition. We see pediatric patients at University Hospital Clinic 1, the Greenwood Health Center, the Eccles Outpatient building at Primary Children's Hospital, and at Primary Children's Riverton Outpatient clinic.

Our allergists see adult and pediatric allergy patients in three locations.

Allergic conditions include:

  • Allergic rhinitis (Hayfever) + Allergic conjunctivitis
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Asthma
  • Eczema/atopic dermatitis
  • Food allergies
  • Hives/urticaria

Immune disorders and immune deficiences include:

  • Common variable immunodeficiency
  • Congenital immunodeficiences such as severe combined immunodeficiency, chronic granulomatous disease, and DiGeorge syndrome.
  • Hereditary angiodema

Contact Us

Eccles Primary Children's Outpatient Services (801) 213-3599

Greenwood Health Center (801) 213-9400

University Hospital Clinic 1 (801) 581-2628

child

Rheumatic conditions impact more than a child’s joints. Related symptoms can affect physical growth, school performance and family dynamics. Our specialists work with parents and the child’s support system to minimize the condition’s impact and provide support for the entire family. By offering a team of medical experts within one organization, we provide comprehensive treatment that is convenient for patients, families and health-care providers. We see patients at PCH Eccles Outpatient Services building and at PCH Riverton Outpatient clinic locations.

Clinics

  • General Adult and Pediatric Allergy Clinic
  • Pediatric Allergy Clinic
  • Primary Immune Deficiency Disorders Clinic
  • Pediatric Rheumatology Clinic

We Provide Consultation & Treatment for:

  • Dermatomyositis
  • Juvenile arthritis
  • Periodic fever and other autoinflammatory disorders
  • Scleroderma and morphea
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Vasculitis

Contact Us

(801) 213-3599

Patient Information

New patients: Please call our office to schedule an appointment. We accept physician referrals. When your appointment has been scheduled, we will ask you to fill out a new patient questionnaire.

If your child may need allergy testing, we may ask you to discontinue certain allergy medications a few days before the appointment.

Return visits: Please call our office to schedule an appointment.

The following websites may be helpful for you and your family:

Treatment for a Child's Allergy

Your child's doctor will consider your child's age, overall health, how severe the allergic reaction was, and other factors when advising treatment. The most effective ways to treat allergies are avoidance of the allergen, immunotherapy, and medication.

What is avoidance?

Avoidance simple means staying away from a substance that causes an allergic reaction.

Suggestions for avoiding (some) allergens:

  • Remain indoors when the pollen count is high and on windy days.

  • Dustproof the home, particularly your child's bedroom.

    • Eliminate, when possible, wall-to-wall carpet, venetian blinds, and down-filled blankets or pillows.

    • Wash bedding, curtains, and clothing often and in hot water to eliminate dust mites.

    • When possible, keep bedding in dust covers.

  • Use air conditioning instead of opening the windows.

  • Consider putting a dehumidifier in damp areas of the home, but remember to clean it often.

  • Have your child wear a face mask if playing outside when the pollen count is high.

  • Take vacations in areas where pollen is not as prevalent, such as locations near the ocean.

Your child's doctor will also have suggestions for avoiding the allergens that cause reactions.

What is immunotherapy (allergy shots)?

Immunotherapy is a type of treatment for allergic children with hay fever and/or asthma. It is also called desensitization, hyposensitization, and allergy shots. A mixture of the various pollens, mold spores, animal danders, and dust mites to which the child is allergic is formulated. This mixture is called an allergy extract. There is no medication in the mixture. The mixture is injected under the skin, usually in the fatty tissue in the back of the arm.  It is not painful like an injection into the muscle. Over time, the child's immune system builds up an immunity to the allergen. The injections are usually given weekly or twice a week for about a year. Then every other week to finally once a month.

About 80% to 90% of children improve with immunotherapy. It usually takes 12 to 18 months before definite reduction in allergy symptoms is noticed. In some children, a reduction in symptoms is seen in as soon as 6 to 8 months.

Immunotherapy is only part of the treatment plan for allergic children. Since it takes time for immunotherapy to become effective, your child will need to continue the allergy medications, as prescribed by his or her doctor. It is also important to continue eliminating allergens, such as dust mites, from your child's environment.

Are there side effects to immunotherapy?

There are two types of reactions to immunotherapy: local and systemic. The local reaction is redness and swelling at the injection site. If this condition occurs repeatedly, then the extract strength or schedule is changed.

A systemic reaction is one that may involve the whole body. The symptoms may include nasal congestion, sneezing, hives, swelling, wheezing, and low blood pressure. Such reactions can be serious and even life-threatening. However, deaths related to immunotherapy are rare. If a systemic reaction occurs, your child may continue taking shots, but of a lower dosage.

If you have any questions concerning immunotherapy, always consult your child's doctor or allergist.

Medication as treatment for allergy

For children who suffer from allergies, there are many effective medications. This is a brief overview of the most commonly used types of medications. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends against some over-the-counter medicines for infants and young children. Always consult your child's doctor before giving your child any over-the-counter medications.

What are antihistamines?

Antihistamines are used to relieve or prevent the symptoms of allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and other allergies. They prevent the effects of histamine, a substance produced by the body during an allergic reaction. Antihistamines come in tablet, capsule, liquid, or injection form and are available both over the counter and by prescription.

What are decongestants?

Decongestants are used to treat nasal congestion and other symptoms associated with colds and allergies. Decongestants cause the blood vessels to narrow, leading to the clearing of nasal congestion. Decongestants are available both over the counter and by prescription. The most commonly used forms are liquid and tablet. However, nose sprays or drops may be prescribed by your child's doctor. The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) does not recommend decongestants for children younger than age 4. Regular use of decongestants can cause the symptoms to worsen as the body becomes dependent on the medication. This is called a "rebound effect."

What types of medications are used for asthma and respiratory symptoms resulting from an allergic reaction?

The use of medications for asthma or respiratory symptoms from allergies is highly individualized based on the severity of the symptoms. The following are the most commonly used medications:

  • Bronchodilators. These medications are used to help open the narrowed airway and may relieve coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, or difficulty in breathing. These are usually considered rescue medications for acute attacks of asthma. Types of bronchodilators are beta agonists, and anticholinergics. These medications come in inhalers, or in pill form, liquid, or injectables.
    The short-acting bronchodilators are used as needed, as symptoms occur. Longer-acting bronchodilators may be used for maintenance or on a daily basis to help control flare-ups.

  • Anti-inflammatory medications. These medications help decrease the inflammation that occurs in the airways with asthma. These include two types of medications:

    • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications. Cromolyn and nedocromil are two types of nonsteroidal medications that are usually inhaled.

    • Corticosteroids. These medications can be given in a variety of ways. Some of them are inhaled, while others may be taken as a pill or liquid, or even injected. The steroids taken by mouth can have more side effects than those that are inhaled. Consult your child's doctor regarding the best choice for your child.

  • Antileukotrienes. This medication is sometimes used to help control the symptoms of asthma. These medications help to decrease the narrowing of the lung and decrease the chance of fluid in the lungs. These are usually given by mouth.

  • Immunotherapy. Omalizumab (Xolair), a monoclonal antibody that attacks an immunoglobulin associated with allergic reactions, can be used for severe asthma attacks in adults and children older than age 12.

Consult your child's doctor for more information concerning allergy medications.

John F. Bohnsack, M.D.

John Bohnsack MD graduated from Yale College, and received his medical degree from the University of Virginia. He is board certified in Pediatrics and in Pediatric Rheumatology. He is a Professor of Pediatrics and has been a member of the faculty of the University of Utah School of Medicine for 22 years.
... Read More

Specialties:

Pediatric Immunology, Pediatric Rheumatology

Locations:

PCH Outpatient Services at Riverton (801) 213-3599
Primary Children's Hospital (801) 213-3599

Karin Chen, M.D.

Dr. Karin Chen completed her medical degree at University of California, Irvine School of Medicine. She then completed her residency and a clinical fellowship in Allergy and Immunology at UCLA. She is an Assistant Professor in the Pediatric Allergy, Immunology and Rheumatology division at University of Utah.
... Read More

Specialties:

Pediatric Allergy, Pediatric Immunology

Locations:

Primary Children's Hospital (801) 213-3599

Deborah Durkee, APRN

Debbie Durkee received a Bachelor of Science in Family and Human Development from Utah State University in 1997. She then began working in the Behavioral Health Unit at Primary Children’s Medical Center as a Behavioral Health Specialist and Social Service Worker. In April 2003 she completed her LPN degree at Da... Read More

Specialties:

Pediatric Immunology, Pediatric Rheumatology

Locations:

PCH Outpatient Services at Riverton (801) 213-3599
Primary Children's Hospital (801) 213-3599

Sylvia Fadrhonc, PA-C, M.H.S.

Sylvie Fadrhonc, MHS, PA-C received her Bachelor of Arts in Geology and Pre-Medical Sciences from Colorado College, graduating with honors in 2007. During her undergraduate studies, Sylvie worked as an athletic trainer with the Colorado College Sports Medicine Department, designing and implementing physical ther... Read More

Specialties:

Pediatric Immunology, Pediatric Rheumatology

Locations:

PCH Outpatient Services at Riverton (801) 213-3599
Primary Children's Hospital (801) 213-3599

Rafael Firszt, M.D., M.B.A.

Dr. Rafael Firszt completed his medical school and pediatric residency training at McGill University. He completed his fellowship in Allergy and Immunology at Duke University. He is currently a Clinical Assistant Professor in Pediatric Allergy and Immunology at the University of Utah School of Medicine and Prim... Read More

Specialties:

Allergy, Pediatric Allergy, Pediatric Immunology

Locations:

Greenwood Health Center (801) 213-9400
Primary Children's Hospital (801) 213-3599

Aimee O. Hersh, M.D.

Dr. Aimee Hersh received her medical degree from Brown Medical School and completed her residency and clinical fellowship in Pediatric Rheumatology at University of California, San Francisco.

She is currently an A... Read More

Specialties:

Pediatric Rheumatology

Locations:

PCH Outpatient Services at Riverton (801) 213-3599
Primary Children's Hospital (801) 213-3599

Christi J. Inman, M.D., M.S.

CJ Inman, MD, MS is an Assistant Professor in Pediatric Rheumatology at the University Of Utah School Of Medicine and Primary Children’s Medical Center. She received her medical degree from Drexel School of Medicine, completed her pediatric residency at the University of California at Irvine and her pediatric rh... Read More

Specialties:

Medical Informatics, Pediatric Rheumatology

Locations:

PCH Outpatient Services at Riverton (801) 213-3599
Primary Children's Hospital (801) 213-3599

Sara Stern, M.D.

Dr. Sara Stern received her medical degree from Albert Einstein College of Medicine. She then completed her residency and a clinical fellowship in pediatric rheumatology at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Division of Pediatric Immunology, Rheumatology, and Allerg... Read More

Specialties:

Pediatric Rheumatology

Locations:

PCH Outpatient Services at Riverton (801) 213-3599
Primary Children's Hospital (801) 213-3599

Amy L. Woodward, M.D., M.P.H.

Dr. Woodward is an Associate Professor in the Division of Pediatric Allergy, Immunology and Rheumatology at the University of Utah School of Medicine and Primary Children’s Medical Center. Dr. Woodward received her medical degree from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, after which she completed her resid... Read More

Specialties:

Pediatric Rheumatology

Locations:

PCH Outpatient Services at Riverton (801) 213-3599
Primary Children's Hospital (801) 213-3599
University Hospital 50 N. Medical Dr.
Salt Lake City, UT 84113
Map
Appointments
(801) 581-2628
PCH Outpatient Services at Riverton 3773 W. 12600 S., 3rd Floor
Riverton, UT 84065
Map
Appointments
(801) 213-3599
Eccles Primary Children's Outpatient Services 81 North Mario Capecchi Dr.
Salt Lake City, UT 84113
Map
Appointments
(801) 213-3599
Greenwood Health Center 7495 South State Street
Midvale, 84047
Map
Appointments
(801) 213-9400