To cite this article: Alm B, Goksör E, Thengilsdottir H, Pettersson R, Möllborg P, Norvenius G, Erdes L, Åberg N, Wennergren G. Early protective and risk factors for allergic rhinitis at age 4½ years. Pediatr Allergy Immunol 2011; 22: 398–404.
Allergic heredity plays a major role in the development of allergic rhinitis. In addition the introduction of food may influence the risk of subsequent allergic disease. The aim of this study was to analyse early risk factors and protective factors for allergic rhinitis at preschool age. Data were obtained from a prospective, longitudinal study of a cohort of children born in the region of western Sweden in 2003 and 8,176 families (50% of the birth cohort) were randomly selected. The parents answered questionnaires at 6 and 12 months and at 4½ yr of age. The response rate at 4½ yr was 4,496, i.e. 83% of the 5,398 questionnaires distributed at 4½ yr. At 4½ yr of age, 5.5% reported symptoms of allergic rhinitis during the last year. In the multivariate analysis, independent risk factors for allergic rhinitis were: allergic sensitisation to food allergens at 4½ yr (OR 10.21; 95% confidence interval 4.22–24.73), recurrent wheeze at 4½ yr (3.33; 1.56–7.10), doctor-diagnosed eczema at 4½ yr (2.72; 1.62–4.55), parental rhinitis (2.21; 1.39–3.53), eczema first year (1.97; 1.19–3.26) and male gender (1.82; 1.13–2.94). The risk was reduced with fish introduction before 9 months (0.49; 0.29–0.82). In conclusion, we found that previous and present allergic disease, heredity and male gender increased the risk of allergic rhinitis at 4½ yr of age. The introduction of fish before the age of 9 months reduced the risk.