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01-06-2010 | Respiratory | Article

Comorbidity common in children with rhinitis


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MedWire News: Children with rhinitis frequently have other illnesses, including conjunctivitis, asthma, atopic eczema, and bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR), research shows.

Among a group of 10-year-old children with rhinitis, nearly 90% are likely to have at least one allergy-related comorbidity, report Randi Bertelsen (Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo) and colleagues in the journal Pediatric Allergy and Immunology.

Although the comorbidities of allergic rhinitis are documented in numerous adult populations, less is known about these patterns in children. Using data from the Norwegian Environmental and Childhood Asthma Study, the group studied 1019 10-year-old children.

Overall, 25% of children had current rhinitis, of whom, 87% had at least one allergy-related comorbidity and 75% had conjunctivitis. In addition, 12% of children had conjunctivitis combined with current asthma and atopic eczema.

Among the 254 children with rhinitis, 73% were sensitized to at least one inhalant allergen and 65% had mixed sensitization, while just 26% were sensitized to seasonal allergens only.

Children with rhinitis and allergic sensitization were more likely to have BHR, severe BHR, and conjunctivitis than children with rhinitis alone, but the groups did not differ in likelihood for current asthma, wheeze, otitis media, or atopic eczema.

Of note, 70% of children with rhinitis reported symptoms after exposure to pollen and/or fur, but just 6% of children reported symptoms only when exposed to fur.

Children with both pollen and fur as perceived triggers more frequently had comorbidities of BHR, asthma, and wheeze compared with children with symptoms only related to pollen.

The team concludes: “Current rhinitis is closely associated with conjunctivitis, asthma, atopic eczema, and BHR in childhood. Conjunctivitis and BHR were most strongly linked to rhinitis with allergic sensitization.”

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