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14-12-2010 | Respiratory | Article

Allergic rhinitis predicts wheezing in children


Free abstract

MedWire News: Allergic rhinitis in early life is a significant independent predictor for wheezing in later childhood, German research shows.

"Rhinitis in older children and adults has been shown to be a predictor for adolescent- and adult-onset asthma," explain Mascha Rochat (University of Munich) and colleagues in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

But they add: "Whether rhinitis is a predictor for childhood-onset asthma is unknown."

To investigate whether the development of rhinitis in early life predicts wheezing between the ages of 5 and 13 years, the team studied 1314 children who participated in the German Multicentre Allergy Study.

All of the children were monitored from birth and their parents completed regular questionnaires on respiratory symptoms and other health issues. Specific immunoglobulin (Ig)E levels were measured annually and airway hyper-responsiveness was assessed at the age of 7 years.

The researchers found that rhinitis prevalence was highest at the age of 3 years, at 9.2%, and ranged from 2.5% to 7.7% throughout the other years. By the age of 13 years, the cumulative incidence of rhinitis was 47.8%.

The prevalence of wheezing was highest at the end of the second year of life, at 19.8%, and decreased to less than 7.0% in following years. The cumulative incidence of wheezing was 40.5% by the age of 13 years.

After accounting for factors such as parental atopy, gender, maternal smoking during pregnancy, and number of siblings, the researchers found that children who suffered from allergic rhinitis before the age of 5 years were 3.82 times more likely to develop wheeze between the ages of 5 and 13 years than those who did not.

Indeed, 41.5% of all children who developed wheeze had previously developed allergic rhinitis.

The association between allergic rhinitis and wheeze was not linked to type or severity of sensitization, the researchers note.

Rochat and team conclude: "Allergic rhinitis in preschool children is a risk factor for subsequent wheezing onset."

They add: "Preschool children with rhinitis might benefit from early assessment of allergic sensitization."

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Mark Cowen

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