In a cross-sectional study of 2363 schoolchildren living in two rural areas of New South Wales, we used a questionnaire to collect details of sex, area of residence, social class, early respiratory illness (ERI), parental history of asthma and recent upper respiratory tract infection (URTI), and we used skin-prick tests to measure atopic status. The relative importance of these factors on the likelihood of children having bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR) was assessed using a linear modelling analysis. The extent to which these factors affected the severity of BHR was also examined. We found that social class or recent URTI had no association with BHR, that sex and area of residence (inland or coastal) had a small association and that a history of early respiratory illness, a history of asthma in either parent, and atopic status had an important association with BHR. Atopic status was the most important factor. The proportion of children with atopy, with ERI or with parental asthma increased as the severity of BHR increased. The odds ratio for moderate or severe BHR doubled if either ERI or parental asthma was present in addition to atopy and there was a six-fold increase if all three factors were present together. The identification of these risk factors makes it possible to predict which children in the community are most likely to have BHR, and which children are at high risk for having more severe levels of BHR.
"(Figure 2) These results support the fact that air pollution has an impact on asthma. This is in agreement with other studies of two populations of Australian (Peat et al., 1987) and United Arab Emirates (Bener et al., 1994b) that high prevalence of asthma was found in primary school children during spring/summer seasons which led to more absenteeism from school. Air pollution has been associated with a number of detrimental health effects for children especially respiratory diseases. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although the notion that childhood wheezing illnesses, particularly those presenting in infancy and early childhood (children
less than 5 yrs), may have different causes is not new, studies in recent years have revealed and rediscovered a number of
distinct wheezing conditions in this early phase of life  (Table 1). The highest prevalence of recurrent wheezing is found
in the first years of life and according to long-term population-related prospective birth cohort studies, up to 50% of all
infants and children below the age of 3 years will have at least one such episode . Wheezing in this early period of life
is often transient, and 60% of children with mild intermittent infantile wheeze will become asymptomatic in later childhood
On the other hand infants with more severe recurrent wheezing have a higher risk of developing persistent asthma particularly
if they are also atopic . However, both the incidence and period prevalence of wheezing decreases significantly with increasing
child age .
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