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J Asthma. 2008 Sep;45(7):590-5. doi: 10.1080/02770900802032941.

Asthma symptoms and bronchial reactivity in school children sensitized to food allergens in infancy.

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Department of Allergy-Pneumonology, Penteli Children's Hospital, Athens, Greece.


Food allergy in infancy usually disappears but is followed primarily by respiratory allergy. We hypothesized that children allergic to common food allergens in infancy are at increased risk of wheezing illness and bronchial hyperresponsiveness during school age. In a case-control study 69 children 7.2 to 13.3 years of age allergic to egg (N = 60) and/or fish (N = 29) in early life (first 3 years) who attended our allergy outpatient clinic were recruited. They received follow-up for 1 year and were evaluated by parental questionnaire, skin prick testing, spirometry, and metacholine bronchial challenge. Another 154 children (70 sensitized to inhaled allergens) recruited selectively from a general population sample with no history of food allergy during their first 3 years served as control subjects. Twenty-three children (38.3%) maintained their sensitization to egg and 19 (65.5%) to fish; the prevalence of sensitization to > or = 1 inhaled allergen(s) increased from 59.4% to 71% during childhood. Current asthma symptoms were reported more frequently in the study group than in either control groups, sensitized to inhaled allergens and non-sensitized. Children of the study group showed a significantly increased frequency of positive response to metacholine bronchial challenge compared to the control group as a whole; the difference was statistically indicative when study groups separately were compared to the sensitized control subjects. Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that bronchial hyperresponsiveness, as well as reported current asthma symptoms were associated with early wheezing and early sensitization to inhaled allergens but not with atopic dermatitis in infancy or persistence of egg or fish allergy. Children allergic to egg or fish in infancy are at increased risk for wheezing illness and hyperactive airways in school age; asthma and bronchial hyperresponsiveness development is mostly determined by wheezing and senzitization to inhaled allergens in early life regardless of atopic dermatitis in infancy or retention of food allergy.

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