High incidence of sensitization to ornamental plants in allergic rhinitis


O. Michel
CHU Saint-Pierre (ULB-CP404)
Rue Haute 322
B-1000 Brussels


Background:  A few indoor plants have been described as potential allergens, in single case reports of allergic rhinitis. There is no data evaluating the prevalence of allergic sensitization to these plants.

Aim:  The relationship between owning indoor ornamental plants with the risk to be sensitized has been evaluated in atopic rhinitis.

Methods:  A group of 59 patients with allergic rhinitis were submitted to skin prick tests (SPT) using both the leafs of their own plant and commercial extracts of the most frequent airborne allergens. A control group of 15 healthy subjects was tested with the same allergens.

Results:  While none subject from the control group developed a significant SPT to any of the tested plants, 78% of allergic rhinitis had positive SPT to at least one plant, the most frequent sensitization being Ficus benjamina, yucca, ivy and palm tree.

Conclusion:  In allergic rhinitis, indoor plants should be considered as potential allergens.