Will every child have allergic rhinitis soon?

Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2019 Mar:118:53-58. doi: 10.1016/j.ijporl.2018.12.019. Epub 2018 Dec 18.


Objectives: Given the increasing prevalence of AR amongst children, we aimed to review the literature regarding the future of AR in this population.

Methods: We searched the PubMed, Google and Proquest Central databases at Kırıkkale University Library. Search terms used were: "allergic rhinitis", "children", "paediatric", "allergy", "future", "risk factors", "treatment", "pharmacotherapy" and/or "allergen - specific immunotherapy". With regard to risk factors for allergic rhinitis, the terms "Environmental factors", "Improved hygiene", "Increased indoor allergen exposure", "Farms, villages, worms, and other parasites", "Environmental toxicants", "Diet", "Lifestyle changes", "Air pollution" and "Climate factors" were searched for. "Prevention of allergic diseases" and "Allergen-specific immunotherapy in the future" were also included in the search.

Results: AR has a high prevalence and causes considerable morbidity, has associated comorbidity and features specific complications. The principal treatments rely on avoiding the allergens responsible, and administering drug treatment or immunotherapy, which targets specific antigens. Genetic drift does not explain the rising prevalence of allergic disorders, but multifactorial environmental factors are likely culprits. Amongst such environmental factors to consider are the rise in caesarean births, decreases in breast feeding, dietary changes resulting in less fresh produce being consumed, the eradication of intestinal worm infestations, alterations in the way homes are aired and heated, children taking less exercise and being outdoors for shorter periods, whilst also having more contact with pollution.

Conclusion: Barring substantial lifestyle alterations, more and more children are likely to develop AR. It may prove feasible to stop allergy developing in the first place through manipulation of the microbiome, but the exact format such a modification should involve remains to be discovered. Molecular allergological techniques do offer the prospect of more precisely targeted immunotherapy, the sole disease modifier at present. However, at present the complexity and cost of such interventions prevents their widespread use and research in this area is still needed. The majority of children with AR are going to be managed using nasal saline sprays, since they are the most straightforward and least risky alternative for first line treatment.

Keywords: Allergen-specific immunotherapy; Allergic rhinitis; Children; Disease-modifying treatment; Future; Microbiome; Pharmacotherapy; Primary prevention.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollution, Indoor
  • Allergens / immunology*
  • Breast Feeding
  • Cesarean Section
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Comorbidity
  • Desensitization, Immunologic
  • Diet
  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Exercise
  • Humans
  • Prevalence
  • Protective Factors
  • Rhinitis, Allergic / epidemiology*
  • Rhinitis, Allergic / immunology
  • Rhinitis, Allergic / therapy*
  • Risk Factors


  • Allergens
  • Environmental Pollutants