Wheeze, eczema and rhinitis in 6-7 year old Irish schoolchildren.Ir Med J. 2003 Apr; 96(4):102-4.IM
The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of wheeze, eczema and rhinitis in 6-7 year old schoolchildren in Louth and Meath and assess their risk factors. The ISAAC (International Study for Asthma and Allergies in Childhood) questionnaire was used. The response rate was 64.1% (n = 1899). The prevalence rates for wheeze, eczema and rhinitis were 17.4%, 11.2% and 20.2% respectively, with 2.4% of children reported to be suffering from all 3 conditions. The main risk factors for wheeze were male sex and smoking in the home. Ninety-five (28.7%) children with wheeze had no diagnosis of asthma. Of these children 36 (37.9%) had wheeze with exercise, 55 (59.9%) had a dry cough not associated with a cold or flu and 13 (13.7%) reported more than 4 attacks of wheeze in the last year. This study suggests underdiagnosis and undertreatment of atopic illness in this age group. It also suggests decreasing exposure to passive smoking and early recognition and treatment will improve quality of life for many children.