Guidelines recommend allergen avoidance for patients with allergic asthma, but direct measurements of home allergen levels are not available to most physicians. Parent report of indoor allergen exposure is a potentially convenient and inexpensive surrogate measure of exposure, although validity of parent report to estimate indoor allergen levels is not well established.
To determine if parent-reported pest and pet exposures can identify patients with clinically relevant allergen exposure.
Parents of 300 inner-city children completed a survey about pests (cockroaches and mice) and furred pets (dogs and cats). Settled dust samples were obtained for Bla g 1, Mus m 1, Can f 1, and Fel d 1 from kitchens and bedrooms.
Parent reports were associated with clinically relevant levels of Bla g 1, Mus m 1, Can f 1, and Fel d 1 (P < .001 for all). For example, when parents reported cockroaches were present, 86% of homes had settled dust Bla g 1 levels of 1 U/g or higher, and when they reported mice were present, 90% had Mus m 1 levels greater than 500 ng/g. Report of pets was also predictive of clinically meaningful allergen levels. Parent-reported absence of pets provided assurance that allergen levels were below relevant thresholds (negative predictive value, 80%-98%). However, parent-reported absence of pests did not provide assurance of low levels of these allergens (negative predictive value, 38%-75%).
Since direct measurement of indoor allergens is not always feasible, especially in the inner city, parent report of pests and pets may be sufficient to recommend environmental control practices for sensitized children. Negative parent reports of pests are not sufficient evidence of low pest allergen exposure.
Annals of allergy, asthma & immunology: official publication of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology 12/2008; 101(5):517-23. DOI:10.1016/S1081-1206(10)60291-8 · 2.75 Impact Factor