Allergy history alone is not sufficient when assessing patients with asthma and rhinitis in general practice

The authors defined formal allergy assessment as:

- allergy history
- skin prick tests to 5 common aeroallergens

The study objective was to estimate the extent to which a formal allergy assessment would improve the precision of allergy diagnosis compared with a patient's self-report or the allergy history alone.

The study included 127 patients with asthma and rhinitis from 4 general practices in the UK.

Self-reporting misclassified allergic status in many patients.

An allergy history alone was little better and resulted in false-positive rates for cat allergy of 32%, grass pollen of 48%, house dust mite of 75%, tree pollen of 54%, and dog of 27%.

Fewer than 50% of cat-allergic individuals report direct cat exposure (at home or elsewhere) (JACI, 2012).

Skin prick testing combined with a history was essential to reach a correct causative diagnosis.

References:

Is structured allergy history sufficient when assessing patients with asthma and rhinitis in general practice? Smith HE, Hogger C, Lallemant C, Crook D, Frew AJ. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2009 Jan 7.
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