Sih T, Mion O. Allergic rhinitis in the child and associated comorbidities.
Pediatr Allergy Immunol 2010: 21: e107–e113.
© 2009 John Wiley & Sons A/S
Allergic rhinitis (AR) typically presents after the second year of life, but the exact prevalence in early life is unknown. AR affects 10–30% of the population, with the greatest frequency found in children and adolescents. It appears that the prevalence has increased in the pediatric population. As the childs’ immune system develops between the 1st and 4th yr of life, those with an atopic predisposition begin to express allergic disease with a clear Th2 response to allergen exposure, resulting in symptoms. In pediatric AR, two or more seasons of pollen exposure are generally needed for sensitization, so allergy testing to seasonal allergens (trees, grasses, and weeds) should be conducted after the age of 2 or 3 years. Sensitization to perennial allergens (animals, dust mites, and cockroaches) may manifest several months after exposure. Classification of AR includes measurement of frequency and duration of symptoms. Intermittent AR is defined as symptoms for <4 days/wk or <4 consecutive weeks. Persistent AR is defined as occurring for more than 4 days/wk and more than 4 consecutive weeks. AR is associated with impairments in quality of life, sleep disorders, emotional problems, and impairment in activities such as work and school productivity and social functioning. AR can also be graded in severity – either mild or moderate/severe. There are comorbidities associated with AR. The chronic effects of the inflammatory process affect lungs, ears, growth, and others. AR can induce medical complications, learning problems and sleep-related complaints, such as obstructive sleep apnea syndrome and chronic and acute sinusitis, acute otitis media, serous otitis media, and aggravation of adenoidal hypertrophy and asthma.