Environmental risk factors of rhinitis in early infancy

Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2006 Jun;17(4):278-84. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-3038.2006.00386.x.


Previous studies of allergic rhinitis in children have not documented the environmental risk factors for infants at age one. We examined the relationship of environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) and visible mold exposures on the development of allergic rhinitis, rhinitis and upper respiratory infection (URI) in a birth cohort where at least one parent was skin prick test (SPT) positive. ETS exposure and upper respiratory symptoms were obtained by questionnaires. Visible mold was classified as none, low or high during home visit. Infants had a SPT at age one. After adjustment for potential confounders, exposure to >20 cigarettes per day was associated with an increased risk of developing allergic rhinitis at age one [odds ratio (OR)=2.7; 95% CI 1.04-6.8] and rhinitis symptoms during the first year (OR=1.9; 95% CI 1.1-3.2). Infants with low (OR=1.5; 95% CI 1.1-2.3) or high (OR=5.1; 95% CI 2.2-12.1) levels of visible mold in their homes were more likely to have more frequent URI during the first year. Older siblings were protective for development of both rhinitis symptoms and allergic rhinitis. This study suggests that ETS exposure, rather than visible mold, is associated with rhinitis and allergic rhinitis in infants. The analysis also suggests that mold may be a stronger risk factor for URI that ETS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Causality
  • Cohort Studies
  • Environmental Exposure / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Fungi / immunology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Odds Ratio
  • Ohio / epidemiology
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / epidemiology
  • Rhinitis / epidemiology*
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Seasonal / epidemiology
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / adverse effects
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / statistics & numerical data


  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution