Allergies, upper respiratory tract infections, and asthma

Michael Abramson, Lesley Pearson, Jozica Kutin, Daniel Czarny, Linas Dziukas, Glenn Bowes

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The aims of this study were (1) to quantify the prevalence of aeroallergen hypersensitivity in presentations for emergency treatment of asthma and (2) to determine the strength of association between viral upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) and admission for treatment of asthma. A series of 209 asthmatic patients presenting to the Emergency Department (ED) of the Alfred Hospital over 6 months underwent skin prick testing and venipuncture for serum IgE and rye grass pollen (RGP) RAST. A case-control study of 38 asthmatic inpatients and 90 controls admitted for road trauma or endoscopy underwent nasopharyngeal aspiration for viral culture and immunofluorescence (IF). Eighty-four percent of ED asthmatic patients had one or more positive skin tests to common aeroallergens, 57% had a positive skin test, and 45% had a positive RAST to RGP. Viral cultures or IF studies were positive in 8 asthmatic patients and 2 controls. Asthmatic inpatients were 6 times more likely to have a viral URTI than were controls. It is concluded that aeroallergen hy-persensitivity is present in most asthmatic patients presenting to the ED, and that there is a strong association between viral URTIs and admission for asthma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)367-374
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Asthma
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1994

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