PHILADELPHIA, March 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Data from the largest survey of
its kind suggested there's a silent epidemic among our nation's children.
U.S. children are suffering with allergies and not getting the treatment
they need, according to the Pediatric Allergies in America survey, which is
the largest and most comprehensive national survey of parents of children
under the age of 18 who suffer from allergic rhinitis. The survey results
were presented today at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and
Immunology 2008 Annual Meeting in Philadelphia. More than 500 parents who
had a child with allergies were interviewed about severity and effects of
allergies on their child's life, and their responses were compared to more
than 500 parents of children without allergies.
"We have known anecdotally that children are affected by allergy
symptoms similarly to adults, but Pediatric Allergies in America offers the
first data quantifying the scope of how allergies interrupt a child's
productivity, sleep cycle, and daily functioning," said Jay M. Portnoy, MD,
President of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
Quality of Life Findings
More than three quarters of parents (76 percent) reported Spring to be
the worst time of year for their children's nasal allergies. Allergy
symptoms cause children to feel tired, miserable and irritable. Many
children with allergies reported experiencing symptoms every day this time
of year. Key findings included:
-- Allergy symptoms are interfering with children's sleep. Forty percent
of parents indicated that their child's allergies interfere a lot or
somewhat with their sleep. Only eight percent of parents of children
without allergies indicated their child's health interferes with their
-- Allergy symptoms are limiting children's activities. Twice as many
parents (21 percent) said allergies limit their children's activities,
compared with only 11 percent of parents whose child did not suffer
-- Allergy symptoms interfere with children's education. Forty percent of
parents of children with allergic rhinitis report their condition
interferes with their performance at school compared to only 10 percent
of parents of children without allergic rhinitis who attribute lower
performance at school to health issues.
-- Although the most bothersome symptom is a stuffed up nose (27 percent),
almost half (46 percent) of parents of children with allergic rhinitis
reported serious symptoms - such as headache and ear and facial pain.
Treatment Experience Findings
The survey found that there is room for improvement in the management
of allergic rhinitis and that new therapies could help fill some of the
current treatment needs. Healthcare professionals overestimate their
patients' satisfaction with allergy medicines.
"Similar to what we have learned about adults, many children with nasal
allergies are not satisfied with current treatments. This dissatisfaction
is one reason why nasal allergy sufferers sometimes discontinue or switch
medications," said Michael Blaiss, MD, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics and
Medicine at the University of Tennessee. "We have information that tells us
how, in fact, children suffer with this condition, how it truly affects
their quality of life and that there is a need out there for better
treatments to control allergies in the pediatric population."
-- Nearly half (48 percent) of the children in the study are currently
using prescription medication to treat their nasal allergy symptoms;
but of those, more than half (57 percent) have changed their
medication, with parents citing the medication was not effective enough
as the number one reason for the switch. Patients' dissatisfaction with
effectiveness of nasal allergy medicines caused them to ask their
doctor to change medication (26 percent) or to simply stop taking them
-- Bothersome side effects of prescription nasal allergy sprays were a key
reason reported when parents were asked why their child is not
satisfied with their medication. Cited most often are products
dripping down the throat and bad taste, which were also seen as most
bothersome when compared to other side effects including burning (15
percent), drying feeling (14 percent), and headaches (13 percent).
Allergic rhinitis is a chronic inflammatory disease of the nasal mucosa
causing sneezing, itching, nasal congestion and discharge. Some patients
with allergic rhinitis have systemic symptoms, including malaise,
irritability, fatigue, difficulty concentrating and decreased appetite.
Allergic rhinitis is the most common allergic disease in the U.S.
affecting about 40 million people, specifically 10 percent to 30 percent of
adults and up to 40 percent of children. It is associated with direct costs
of about $4.5 billion annually and indirect costs that reflect
approximately four million days of lost time and productivity at work and
Seasonal allergic rhinitis is caused by substances typically outdoors
(i.e., pollen) that set off allergies and is sometimes referred to as "hay
fever." Symptoms may vary in occurrence and intensity during the day or
from season to season. Symptoms are often worse in the morning even when
the exposure occurred on the previous day.
Perennial allergic rhinitis is a chronic condition caused by triggers
such as pet dander and dust. Symptoms of perennial allergic rhinitis are
very similar to those of seasonal allergic rhinitis, yet perennial is
persistent and chronic.
About the Survey
A national probability sample of 500 adults, aged 18 and older, who had
at least one child who had been diagnosed with allergic rhinitis, nasal
allergies or hay fever, and who had nasal allergy symptoms or had taken
prescription medicine for allergies in the past 12 months, were interviewed
by telephone about their condition and treatment.
More than 35,000 households in the United States were screened to
identify nasal allergy sufferers between ages 4 and 17. Individual
screening was conducted with a parent in the household to confirm that
their child had been diagnosed with nasal allergies and suffered from them
or been treated for them in the past 12 months. Parents of children without
allergies (N=504) were also interviewed as a comparison group. A third
parallel survey was conducted among 501 healthcare practitioners, including
a national sample of 401 doctors in direct patient care in outpatient
settings: 100 in family practice specialties, 101 allergists, 100
otolaryngologists, and 100 pediatricians. In addition, 50 nurse
practitioners and 50 physician assistants were interviewed as part of the
The survey was conducted by the national public opinion research
organization, Schulman, Ronca and Bucuvalas, Inc. (SRBI) and made public by
Sepracor Inc, a leading manufacturer and distributor of respiratory
About the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) is a
professional medical organization headquartered in Arlington Heights, Ill.,
that promotes excellence in the practice of the subspecialty of allergy and
immunology. The College, comprising more than 5,000
allergists-immunologists and related health care professionals, fosters a
culture of collaboration and congeniality in which its members work
together and with others toward the common goals of patient care,
education, advocacy and research. Educational information is available on
the ACAAI Web site at www.acaai.org.
SOURCE American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology