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HSN opens new pediatric allergy clinic

By: Jonathan Migneault - Sudbury Northern Life

 | Jun 04, 2014 - 4:37 PM |
Dr. Amy Blair, a pediatrician and allergist, demonstrates an allergy test on six-year-old Gabriella Serafini. Blair, who is based in Toronto, will visit Sudbury throughout the year to test children for allergies at Health Sciences North's new Pediatric Allergy Clinic. Photo by Jonathan Migneault.

Dr. Amy Blair, a pediatrician and allergist, demonstrates an allergy test on six-year-old Gabriella Serafini. Blair, who is based in Toronto, will visit Sudbury throughout the year to test children for allergies at Health Sciences North's new Pediatric Allergy Clinic. Photo by Jonathan Migneault.

Parents and children no longer have to travel to Toronto for allergy tests

Families that previously had to drive their children to Toronto for allergy tests will now be able to receive the service in Sudbury, thanks to Health Sciences North's new Pediatric Allergy Clinic.

Dr. Amy Blair, a Toronto-based pediatrician and allergist, worked with Health Science's North's North Eastern Ontario Health Centre for Kids to start the clinic. 



“A lot of the patients I saw at Sick Children were coming from Northern Ontario,” Blair said about her time at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children.

She will visit Sudbury for up to six weeks a year to head the allergy clinic and test children for allergies. In Greater Sudbury, 26 per cent of children under the age of 18 have allergies, while national average is 22 per cent.

“If it includes environmental, that's probably because in the environment up here you have a lot more pollen,” Blair said about Sudbury's allergy rates. “You would see a lot more pollen allergies as a result of that.”

Even with the higher than average allergy rate, Sudbury doesn't have a full-time allergist.
Allergy rates have increased in recent years, and Blair said there are a few theories for that increase.

The first is that the northern climate, and more liberal usage of sunscreen, means we do not get enough vitamin D.

The second theory is that better hygiene means we are exposed to fewer impurities that can help build a natural immunity to allergies.

The final theory, said Blair, is that infants are often restricted from eating ordinary household diets which does not expose them to a wide variety of foods at an early age and makes them more susceptible to allergies.

Jenna Serafini's six-year-old daughter, Gabriella, has a number of allergies, and the family has had to travel to Toronto in the past to have her tested.

“We've had to leave the area for allergy appointments,” Serafini said. “This clinic is definitely making it easier for us.”

Serafini said other families will save on a lot of time and worry with a local allergy clinic.
Families that previously had to drive their children to Toronto for allergy tests will now be able to receive the service in Sudbury, thanks to Health Sciences North's new Pediatric Allergy Clinic.

Dr. Amy Blair, a Toronto-based pediatrician and allergist, worked with Health Science's North's North Eastern Ontario Health Centre for Kids to start the clinic.

“A lot of the patients I saw at Sick Children were coming from Northern Ontario,” Blair said about her time at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children.

She will visit Sudbury for up to six weeks a year to head the allergy clinic and test children for allergies. In Greater Sudbury, 26 per cent of children under the age of 18 have allergies, while national average is 22 per cent.

“If it includes environmental, that's probably because in the environment up here you have a lot more pollen,” Blair said about Sudbury's allergy rates. “You would see a lot more pollen allergies as a result of that.”

Even with the higher than average allergy rate, Sudbury doesn't have a full-time allergist.
Allergy rates have increased in recent years, and Blair said there are a few theories for that increase.

The first is that the northern climate, and more liberal usage of sunscreen, means we do not get enough vitamin D.

The second theory is that better hygiene means we are exposed to fewer impurities that can help build a natural immunity to allergies.

The final theory, said Blair, is that infants are often restricted from eating ordinary household diets which does not expose them to a wide variety of foods at an early age and makes them more susceptible to allergies.

Jenna Serafini's six-year-old daughter, Gabriella, has a number of allergies, and the family has had to travel to Toronto in the past to have her tested.

“We've had to leave the area for allergy appointments,” Serafini said. “This clinic is definitely making it easier for us.”

Serafini said other families will save on a lot of time and worry with a local allergy clinic.
 
Jonathan Migneault

Jonathan Migneault

Staff Writer

@jmigneault

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