The Division of Allergy, Immunology, and Rheumatology (AIR) assists in the diagnosis and management of children with known or suspected immune deficiencies, rheumatologic (related to muscles, tendons, or joints) or autoimmune (immune response of the body against substance normally present in the body) diseases, and allergic diseases (allergies, asthma, skin allergy, and sinusitis).
Within the division are specialists who are board certified in allergy and immunology, clinical and laboratory immunology, pediatric infectious diseases, and pediatric rheumatology.
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Allergic diseases are among the most common causes of chronic disease in childhood, with asthma being the most common reason for hospitalization and lost school time in childhood. Allergic diseases include:
- Allergic rhinitis and conjunctivitis (often called "hay fever" or "allergies"),
- Asthma (characterized by coughing and wheezing at night, with exercise and significant worsening with viral infections),
- Allergies to food, drugs, and/or stinging insects
- Urticaria ("hives"), and
- Recurrent or chronic sinusitis.
The diagnosis and management of these diseases is best coordinated by a specialist in allergy and immunology, in concert with a child’s primary care provider.
Children with asthma are managed within UNC Children’s asthma management program, which is a long standing collaborative effort overseen by the allergy, asthma, and immunology program within UNC's Division of of Pediatric AIR and Division of Pediatric Pulmonology.
Members of this program are internationally known leaders in clinical research of allergic diseases and asthma in both children and adults. This research is conducted by division members at the UNC Center for Environmental Medicine, Asthma and Lung Biology (CEMALB) and focuses on the impact of environmental pollutants in asthma (and other lung diseases) and new drug therapies for these diseases. These studies are funded by and done in conjunction with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the pharmaceutical industry.
Children, like adults, may become affected by a variety of rheumatologic disorders—diseases resulting from one’s immune system reacting against one or more tissues in the body. Such diseases can manifest as inflammation (redness and swelling) in joints (arthritis), muscles, blood vessels and other organs. The diagnosis and management of these diseases is best coordinated by a specialist in pediatric rheumatology.
Children are commonly referred for outpatient evaluation and management of various types of arthritis (including juvenile rheumatoid arthritis), vasculitis, systemic lupus erythematosus, scleroderma, and other rheumatologic and autoimmune disorders. Children with serious or life-threatening manifestations of these diseases are usually evaluated by the pediatric rheumatology specialists in an inpatient setting at N.C. Children’s Hospital.
The UNC Food Allergy Initiative is an internationally renowned leader in care and treatment of food allergy, food-related anaphylaxis, and other related disorders like atopic dermatitis and eosinophilic esophagitis. Learn more about UNC Children's food allergy care >>
Researchers within the UNC Food Allergy Initiative are on the leading edge of developing new diagnostics and potential treatments for a variety of food allergies. Learn more about food allergy research at UNC >>