Although the clinical association of allergic rhinitis and asthma has been recognized for centuries, in recent years the association appears to be stronger than was reported previously. However, data for children are less clear, and some studies indicate that results observed in developing countries may differ from those observed in Western populations. We therefore intended to document the association of rhinitis with pediatric asthma in terms of caregivers' perception, physician practice, and file records. Asthmatic children aged 3-16 years with at least 1-year follow-up in an allergy-asthma outpatient clinic were invited to participate in the study during a 10-month interval. In addition to a face-to-face questionnaire-based interview, file records were evaluated retrospectively to obtain information relating to asthma and rhinitis. Of 396 patients included in the study, 369 with consistent replies were included in the analyses. The mean age of the study group was 10.6 +/- 0.2 (mean +/- SEM) years, and a greater proportion of the respondents were male (63.7%), atopic (78.3%), and mildly asthmatic (50.7%). House dust mite and grass pollens were the most commonly sensitized allergens (50.7% and 46.9%, respectively). Although only 5.4% of our study population regarded themselves as rhinitic and 23.8% had been diagnosed with allergic rhinitis according to the file records, almost 57.7% of patients had required medications for rhinitis within the last year, and 68.8% had findings consistent with allergic rhinitis. Furthermore, 41.2% and 58.8% reported that their rhinitis symptoms caused a significant burden in their daily life and exacerbated their asthma, respectively, and almost 50% felt that their rhinitis had not been given significant consideration by their physician. In conclusion, although we report a large discrepancy between caregivers' perception of rhinitis, documentation in file records, and treatments for rhinitis, the allergic rhinitis prevalence determined in the survey and the medication use for rhinitis appeared to be in agreement. We recommend a greater effort be made to identify, label, and educate children with rhinitis and their families in asthma outpatient clinics.
Copyright 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.