[Epidemiology of allergic respiratory disorders in infants].

Laboratoire Santé Publique et Environnement, EA 4064-Université Paris Descartes, Faculté des Sciences Pharmaceutiques et Biologiques, Paris, France.
Revue des Maladies Respiratoires (Impact Factor: 0.49). 01/2008; 24(10):1314-28.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Allergic disorders of the respiratory tract have been the subject of many epidemiological studies, especially during infancy which is known to be a critical period for development of the immune system. This paper aims to describe the prevalence of allergic respiratory disorders in children below three years of age in the general population, despite the lack of shared definition of asthma and allergic rhinitis among studies.
Doctor-diagnosed asthma occurs in 5% of children below two years of age. One third of children below three years of age experience wheeze during a lower respiratory tract infection, but only 7% of children wheeze apart from a respiratory infection. Asthma-like cough and bronchial obstruction symptoms are reported in respectively 15% and 9% of children below two years of age. Depending on the definition of allergic rhinitis used, its prevalence varies from 1 to 30% among two years old children.
Definitions of allergic respiratory tract disorders in infants become more elaborate involving parental and personal history of allergy and medication; epidemiological research now attempts to identify, using biological evidence of atopy, infants at risk of persistent allergic disorders.
A better definition of allergic respiratory disorders in infants may help epidemiological research and early care management.

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    ABSTRACT: While wheezing disorders are common in preschool children, their management is not well defined. The aim of this study was to assess the use of medical health care resources due to wheezing disorders in infants aged 18 months followed up in the Pollution and Asthma Risk: an Infant Study (PARIS) birth cohort. Data on wheezing disorders, medical visits and medication on account of respiratory disorders during the previous 12 months were collected with a standardized questionnaire, administered by a paediatrician, during the health check offered to every child aged 18 months included in the PARIS birth cohort. The prevalence of wheezing disorders during the past 12 months amounted to 560/1974 (28.4%). Among wheezers, 493 (89.3%) required a medical visit because of difficult breathing; 61 (11.0%) went to the emergency room, 35 (6.4%) were admitted to the hospital and 375 (67.2%) received an inhaled anti-asthmatic medication. Recourse to chest physiotherapy was reported in 472 of them (85.1%). This study confirms the high use of healthcare resources because of wheezing disorders in infants and suggests a higher use of anti-asthmatic medications in France compared to other European countries.
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