The paediatric allergy clinic at Tygerberg Hospital (TBH) provides a tertiary (i.e. subspecialist and specialist) referral service for children from the northern and eastern parts of the Cape Town Metropole, as well as from the West Coast, Cape Winelands, and Overberg. TBH is a referral hospital, which means that a doctor or clinic sister has to refer the patient to us. Most of the patients that we see are not on medical aid, although we do see private patients in addition to children who are dependent on the public health system.
We only have one clinic a week, on a Friday morning from 9 am to 1 pm. Four doctors regularly work in the clinic, and we have an experienced nursing sister who is an expert in asthma education and in skin care. Children with atopic eczema receive outstanding care, including wet wrapping, from her. The caregivers are given extensive education in caring for the child with atopic eczema.
We see the full spectrum of paediatric allergic disease: asthma, allergic rhinitis and conjunctivitis, atopic eczema, chronic urticaria, and food allergy. We offer allergy testing (both skin prick tests and blood tests), have access to formal lung function testing, and also do food allergy testing and perform food challenges. We work closely with other paediatric subspecialties (pulmonology, gastroenterology and endocrinology), as well as other specialties such as ENT, ophthalmology and dermatology. Food allergic children are managed in close consultation with our dietician colleagues.
Children with hereditary angioedema are managed by the paediatric immunology clinic, and children with non-IgE mediated food allergy are managed by the paediatric gastroenterology clinic.
As there is only one clinic a week, the waiting list for new patients can be very long. If a child has had a severe allergic reaction and/or anaphylaxis or has severe or difficult to control asthma, it is possible to arrange a more urgent appointment by asking to speak to one of the doctors.