Allergy in children: practical recommendations of the Finnish Allergy Programme 2008–2018 for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment

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The Finnish Allergy Programme 2008–2018 is a comprehensive plan intended to reduce the burden of allergies. One basic goal is to increase immunologic tolerance and change attitudes to encourage health instead of medicalizing common and mild allergy symptoms. The main goals can be listed as to: (i) prevent the development of allergic symptoms; (ii) increase tolerance to allergens; (iii) improve diagnostics; (iv) reduce work-related allergies; (v) allocate resources to manage and prevent exacerbations of severe allergies, and (vi) reduce costs caused by allergic diseases. So far, the Allergy Programme has organized 135 educational meetings for healthcare professionals around Finland. These meetings are multidisciplinary meetings gathering together all healthcare professionals working with allergic diseases. Since the start of the program in spring 2008, more than 7000 participants have taken part. Educational material for patient care has been provided on special Web sites/therapeutic portals, which can be accessed by all physicians caring for allergic patients. Local Allergy Working Groups have been created in different parts of Finland. As a part of the Programme, a set of guidelines for child welfare clinics was prepared. Child welfare clinics have a key role in the screening of illnesses and providing advice to families with a symptomatic child. The guidelines aimed to facilitate pattern recognition and clinical decision making for public health nurses and doctors are described in this paper.

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