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Keywords:

  • allergic rhinitis;
  • children;
  • risk associations;
  • non-allergic rhinitis;
  • sensitization

Abstract

Background

The age-related comparative prevalence of allergic rhinitis (AR) and non-allergic rhinitis (NAR) in children is poorly defined. We aimed to characterize AR and NAR in children.

Methods

This study enrolled children with chronic rhinitis who presented to a tertiary paediatric center for a diagnostic skin prick test (SPT). Parents completed a medical history questionnaire for their child, including disease activity for asthma and rhinitis. Sociodemographic data was obtained and all participants underwent a common inhalant SPT panel. A positive SPT indicated AR.

Results

From March 2001 to March 2009, 6,660 children (64% male) were enrolled (aged 6 months to 19 years, mean 7.82 years). Only 3.7% (249) of the children were <2 years old, and almost 30% of these had AR. Most children with AR (73%) presented after age 6.

Males were more likely to have AR (vs. NAR) (OR 1.5; CI 1.39–1.77). Antihistamine and salbutamol use did not differ between children with AR and NAR. Children with AR were more likely to require adjunct therapy with inhaled corticosteroids (51.2% vs. 43.2%, P < 0.001), have drug hypersensitivity (especially antipyretic drugs) (2.5% vs. 1.3%, P = 0.384) or an asthma admission (9.1% vs. 6.0%, P < 0.001).

Conclusions

AR is more common in male children, is relatively rare below the age of 2 years, and accounts for two-thirds of all childhood chronic rhinitis and 73.3% of all chronic rhinitis in school-aged children (≥6 years old). Children with AR have more severe rhinitis symptoms and more often suffer from asthma-related events and admissions. Pediatr Pulmonol. 2012. 47:1026–1033. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.