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Keywords:

  • allergic rhinitis;
  • children;
  • epidemiology;
  • prevalence

Summary

Background Only a few prevalence studies of allergic rhinitis (AR) have been reported in China. This study aimed to evaluate the prevalence of AR in a population of 3–6-year-old children in Wuhan, China.

Methods Sixteen kindergartens in Wuhan City were randomly selected; for each kindergarten, there were three classes from three grades (top, middle and bottom grade, 3–6 years old, respectively). Questionnaires generated by the authors were distributed and filled out by parents of the selected children, with a telephone interview subsequently. Skin prick test (SPT) was carried out on the children after a written consent was signed by the parents.

Results A total of 1211 (89.5%) valid questionnaires were returned for evaluation. The adjusted current prevalence of AR in 3–6-year-old children was 10.8% with the diagnostic criterion of nasal symptoms(+) and SPTs(+). In the SPTs(+) children, the most common inhalant allergen was house dust mites (94.7%), followed by moulds (28.4%). The prevalence of AR was higher in males than that in females (13.0% vs. 7.7%, P<0.05). 15.8% and 23.2% of AR children were sensitive to egg and milk, respectively. The percentage of children sensitive to both inhalant and food allergens was 27.4%.

Conclusions We found an unexpectedly high prevalence of diagnosed AR in 3–6-year-old children within the investigated population. Dust mite was the most important allergen source for 3–6-year-old children in Wuhan.