Originally received 2nd July 2012; resubmitted 5th September 2012; revised 21st November 2012; accepted 20th December 2012; online 4th March 2013 Abstract Background: Polysensitisation is a frequent phenomenon in patients with allergic rhinitis. However, few studies have investigated the characteristics of polysensitised children, especially in primary care. Objectives: This analysis describes the patterns of sensitisation to common allergens and the association with age, gender, and clinical symptoms in children in primary care diagnosed with allergic rhinitis. Methods: Cross-sectional data from two randomised double-blind placebo-controlled studies were used to select children aged 6-18 years (n=784) with a doctor's diagnosis of allergic rhinitis or use of relevant medication for allergic rhinitis in primary care. They were assessed for age, gender, specific IgE (type and number of sensitisations), nasal and eye symptom scores. Results: In 699 of the 784 children (89%) with a doctor's diagnosis or relevant medication use, a positive IgE test for one or more allergens was found. Polysensitisation (>2 sensitisations) was found in 69% of all children. Sensitisation was more common in children aged 9-13 than in younger children aged 5-8 years (p=0.03). Monosensitisation and polysensitisation were not significantly different in girls and boys. The severity of clinical symptoms did not differ between polysensitised and monosensitised children, but symptoms were significantly lower in non-sensitised children. Conclusions: Polysensitisation to multiple allergens occurs frequently in children with allergic rhinitis in general practice. Overall, clinical symptoms are equally severe in polysensitised and monosensitised children. Treatment decisions for allergic rhinitis should be made on the basis of a clinical history and allergy testing.

Allergic rhinitis, Children, Clinical symptoms, Cross-sectional study, Primary care, Sensitisation
dx.doi.org/10.4104/pcrj.2013.00015, hdl.handle.net/1765/40550
Primary Care Respiratory Journal
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

de Bot, C.M.A, Röder, E, Pols, D.H.J, Bindels, P.J.E, Gerth van Wijk, R, van der Wouden, J.C, & Moed, H. (2013). Sensitisation patterns and association with age, gender, and clinical symptoms in children with allergic rhinitis in primary care: A cross-sectional study. Primary Care Respiratory Journal, 22(2), 155–160. doi:10.4104/pcrj.2013.00015