Skin reactivity (intracutaneous test) to histamine and allergens was studied cross-sectionally in a Dutch asthmatic patient population from childhood to old age (4-75 years). It was found that the histamine skin reactivity rose significantly (p less than 0.05) during childhood, was significantly higher in the 10-15-year age group, and was constant between 20 and 75 years of age. The mean wheal index (histamine ratio) of all allergens was constant during childhood, and decreased after the age of 25 for grass pollen and house-dust mite and after the age of 15 for the other allergens. The prevalence of a positive skin test decreased with age, except for grass pollen. During childhood the indoor allergens, cat dander and house-dust mite, were the most important, while after the age of 15 sensitivity to an outdoor allergen, grass pollen, increased markedly. At all ages house-dust mite was the most important allergen. After the age of 25 the prevalence of every allergen declines. The prevalence of a positive skin test to Cladosporium was unexpectedly high in childhood (10-40%). It can be concluded that the prevalence of a positive skin test declines with age, except for grass pollen. The degree of sensitization in asthmatics peaked in the age groups between 20 and 40 and sensitivity to indoor allergens developed earlier than sensitivity to outdoor allergens.