3 March 2020

Always screen asthma patients for allergic rhinitis, especially children

Allergies Paediatrics Respiratory

According to allergist and medical rhinologist Dr Jessica Tattersall, up to 80% of asthmatic children will also have allergic rhinitis.

If left untreated, this can have major consequences not only for a child’s physical health, but also for their intellectual and social development.

Allergic rhinitis may not always present with the classic symptoms of runny nose and sneezing.

In fact, sometimes the signs can be very subtle with parents simply reporting their child appears to have sleep disordered breathing, has difficulty concentrating in class or is tired all the time.

On the flip-side, it is estimated that up to 60% of patients with allergic rhinitis, have asthma, often subclinical – which is a dangerous undiagnosed condition.

In children the two conditions are usually inherently linked.

“Allergic rhinitis is asthma of the nose,” Dr Tattersall says.

Once the allergen provokes the allergic rhinitis in the nose, the asthma is often also triggered despite these airways not necessarily having been in direct contact with the allergen.

Similarly, control the allergy in the nose and it is likely to result in better asthma control. And there’s the added benefit that the newer third-generation nasal corticosteroids are an associated with a very, very low systemic uptake.

“If you can actually control their nose, their asthma is going to be far easier to control and you’re giving them less steroids overall,” Dr Tattersall says.

This story first appeared on www.healthed.com.au

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