Background: Childhood sensitization rates for many aeroallergens are underreported.
Objectives: To examine aeroallergen sensitization rates in military children undergoing skin testing for rhinitis and investigate the timing of atopic development for perennial and seasonal allergens.
Methods: A skin testing database was retrospectively analyzed. Children 18 years and younger referred for rhinitis underwent skin prick testing to either a screening panel of 8 tests or a standard panel of 51 allergens.
Results: A total of 209 patients underwent skin testing to the 8-test panel. Of these patients, 35.4% had at least 1 positive result. Atopy increased with age, from 6.3% in those younger than 1 year to 58.8% in those 5 years old. The most common allergens were mold mix (16.3%), cat (13.2%), dust mite mix (11.4%), tree mix (9.4%), and grass mix (9.4%). Only 4.0% were sensitized to seasonal aeroallergens before the age of 3 years. A total of 345 children underwent testing to a 51-allergen panel. A total of 80.3% had at least 1 positive test result, and the average number of positive test results was 11.4. Both the percentage of atopy and the average number of positive skin test results increased with age. The most common allergens were grasses, Alternaria, and cottonwood. Thirty-two of 51 allergens were positive in 20% or more children. Rates for many underreported allergens are presented.
Conclusions: In children, aeroallergen sensitization rates are high and increase with age. Perennial allergens predominate up to the age of 3 years. Rates for many underreported allergens are presented. Although performed in a military population, these results should be applicable to many practices.