Allergy and Immunology

  • Our purpose

    The Department of Allergy and Immunology delivers the highest quality clinical care to children and families with allergic and immune disorders and plays a vital role in increasing awareness, understanding and knowledge of allergic and immune disorders in the community and health professionals through education, teaching and training. We play a leadership role in the development and improvement of health care policies and guidelines related to allergic and immune disorders, and also actively identify and pursue research priorities to prevent and improve management of these conditions. We continue to work collaboratively with the Murdoch Children's Research Institute (MCRI) and the University of Melbourne.

    We do this by

    • Providing multidisciplinary and evidence based secondary, tertiary and quaternary clinical care
    • A commitment to excellence in the training and development of allergy immunology specialists, paediatricians, clinical nurse consultants and allied health professionals in the field
    • Delivering of community education programs and resources
    • Shaping clinical practice by actively participating in national and international expert committees and peak professional bodies
    • Driving optimal health policy by providing expert opinion informed by research and clinical knowledge
    • Leading internationally recognised research into causative mechanisms, prevention and treatment of allergic and immune disorders
    • Collaboration with community, government and professional stakeholders
    • Employing a team of passionate and dedicated professionals committed to our purpose

    Medical and clinical services

    Evaluation and treatment of allergic conditions including asthma, eczema, allergic rhinitis, food, insect, drug, latex allergies and immune disorders. 

    Diagnostic testing including skin prick tests, intradermal skin prick tests, and inpatient challenges.

    Immunotherapy for insect venom such as bee and wasp, aeroallergens such as house dust mites and pollens.

    Tests, such as skin prick tests or blood tests and challenge tests may be recommended.

    Skin prick testing

    Skin prick tests are when a small amount of allergen extract (in the form of a liquid) is pricked into the skin. An allergic reaction appears as a lump (wheal) at the scratch site. An allergy specialist must read the result, as the test needs to be interpreted carefully. A skin prick test takes about 30 minutes.

    The test can be performed on babies, but a baby less than 12 months of age has less reactive skin and so the results may be lessened. Registered nurses, who have undergone extensive training in the procedure, perform skin tests and the result is interpreted by medical specialists with experience in allergy diagnosis and management.


    This is a highly specialised test that is performed in an inpatient setting by experienced allergy specialists and nursing staff in a safe clinical environment.  The test takes a minimum of four hours and involves giving a child increasing amounts of an allergen (e.g. food or drug). The child is observed closely after each dose for any clinical allergic response.

    Only one food is challenged at a time, and if tolerated, families are given a plan and instructions on how to continue at home.

    Thousands of families have learnt through challenges what foods their child can safety introduce back into their diet.  Challenges empower families and children to take control of their lives.

    Challenges are associated with a risk of severe allergic reaction and should only be performed by allergy specialists experienced in the administration of a challenge and in a setting where resuscitation facilities are available.


    Desensitisation programs (immunotherapy) are available for insect venom, house dust mite, pollens and other inhalant allergens (eg. cat dander). Immunotherapy for house dust mite, pollens and other inhalant allergens, involves a series of injections with the initial injection given at the hospital then monthly maintenance injections at the patient's local GP for 3 to 5 years. Ultra rush Immunotherapy for bee or wasp venom comprises multiple injections for bee or wasp venom with the initial dose at The Royal Children's Hospital (RCH) followed by monthly maintenance injections at the local GP for 3 to 5 years. The Department Allergist recommends immunotherapy based on skin prick tests, pathology results and the child's history.

    Current research projects

    Is your family interested in taking part in allergy research?

    The National Allergy Centre of Excellence (NACE) Directory lists the drug, food, insect and respiratory allergy studies currently recruiting or under way across Australia – including this Department’s exciting projects. Individuals and families with allergic diseases can subscribe to receive email updates when new studies are listed. Filter the studies by recruitment status, allergy type, location and age group. Follow the links to studies you wish to express your interest in. The NACE is hosted at Murdoch Children’s Research Institute.

    Visit the national Allergy Studies Directory

    The latest in food allergy research

    The Centre for Food Allergy Research (CFAR) is an Australia-wide collaboration of food allergy experts. CFAR aims to prevent, treat and manage food allergies, promote the rapid translation of outcomes into clinical practice and expand the research workforce through training and mentorship. CFAR is hosted at Murdoch Children’s Research Institute.

    Visit the Centre for Food Allergy Research

    Murdoch Children’s Research Institute

    The Department collaborates with Murdoch Children’s to help deliver a large program of clinical trials and cohort studies that investigate new ways to prevent, early intervene and treat food allergies. Since 2007, Murdoch Children’s has recruited over 21,300 participants, across 15 projects that investigate 12 allergies.

    Visit the Population Allergy Group and the Allergy Immunology Group 


    The Department works closely with the Departments of Nutrition and Food Services (dietetics), Respiratory Medicine, Gastroenterology, Dermatology, and General Paediatrics.

    Pre-referral guidelines

    Please remember that indefinite referrals are only accepted for chronic medical conditions such as immune deficiency. Patient referrals are triaged based upon the clinical problem detailed in the referral and booked into clinic.

    Please access the following Parent Information Sheets by clicking on the sheet or links below:

    Useful information for parents

    Nip Allergies in the Bub

    ASCIA information sheets

    Covid-19,Vaccines and Allergies FAQ's

    RCH information sheets

    Professional organisations

    Registered training organisation, community groups, charities and not for profit