Predictors of allergic rhinitis in Taiwan’s school children
Allergic rhinitis is highly prevalent among school children in Taiwan, a recent study has found. Antibiotic exposure and having a cat in the house during the first year of life appear to be important risk factors.
Using a cross-sectional survey, the researchers assessed the prevalence, as well as the personal and environmental risk factors, of rhinitis among 24,999 first graders, aged 6–8 years. The modified International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) questionnaire was used, and answers were provided by parents or main caregivers.
After excluding incomplete data, a total of 23,630 survey responses remained available for analysis. Overall, 10,652 participants said they had had rhinitis within the past 12 months, yielding a prevalence rate of 42.8 percent. This was higher in boys than in girls (50 percent vs 39.8 percent).
Notably, rhinitis was common among participants who had ever used antibiotics in their first year of life, had bronchiolitis before the age of 2 years, had diagnosed asthma and eczema, and had early exposure to a cat at home.
Multivariate logistic regression analysis found that boys were significantly more likely to develop allergic rhinitis than girls (odds ratio [OR], 1.45, 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.37–1.54; p<0.001).
The analysis also confirmed that the early use of antibiotics (OR, 1.34, 95 percent CI, 1.23–1.45; p<0.001) as well as being diagnosed with bronchiolitis before 2 years of age (OR, 1.68, 95 percent CI, 1.55–1.81; p<0.001) were significant risk factors for allergic rhinitis. The same was true for asthma (OR, 2.32, 95 percent CI, 2.13–2.54; p<0.001) and eczema (OR, 1.93, 95 percent CI, 1.82–2.06; p<0.001) diagnoses.
Moreover, exposure to a cat at home during the first year of life was also found to increase the risk of allergic rhinitis (OR, 1.25, 95 percent CI, 1.03–1.52; p=0.022), while having older siblings was significantly protective (OR, 0.62, 95 percent CI, 0.58–0.66; p<0.001).