Sensitization to airborne allergens in children with respiratory symptoms

Michela Silvestri, Susanna Oddera, Giovanni A. Rossi, Paolo Crimi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Allergy is one of the most common causes of respiratory symptoms in childhood and youth. Objective: Evaluate the presence and the type of allergic sensitization in a paediatric population with respiratory symptoms. Methods. We studied 564 consecutive children, 5 months to 17 years of age, with a male to female ratio (M/F) = 1.4, referred to our outpatient clinic in a 12-month period retrospectively. Patients were arbitrarily divided into four groups (grs) according to their age: gr1 = 5 months to 4 years old (181 patients), gr2 = 4 to 7 years (201 patients), gr3 = 7 to 10 years (96 patients), and gr4 = 10 to 17 years (86 patients). Sensitization to house dust mites, pollens, animal dander, and molds was determined by skin prick testing. Results: Sensitization to at least one class of allergen occurred in 304 of the 564 patients (53.9%, M/F ratio = 2.0); the percentage of allergic patients increased with age as follows: 29.8% (54 patients) of the patients in gr1, 55.2% (111 patients) in gr2, 68.8% (66 patients) in gr3 and 84.9% (73 patients) in gr4 (χ2 = 84.1, P <.01). In the entire allergic population and in gr1 to gr3, the most common positive allergic reaction was to house dust mites (P <.01, χ2 test each comparison). In contrast, gr4 patients showed a nearly equal percentage of sensitization to pollens and to house dust mites (79.5% and 78.1% respectively) (χ2 = 0.0, P > .1). Sensitization to only one class of allergen occurred in 51.3% of the allergic patients and the percentage of these monosensitized patients tended to decrease from gr1 to gr4 (χ2 = 15.2, P <.01). In the monosensitized group, sensitization to house dust mites was the most frequent in gr1 to gr3 (age

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-244
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy

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