65% of older patients with asthma are allergic - sensitization is more common than previously reported

Approximately 60% to 80% of children and young adults with asthma are sensitized to at least one allergen. In contrast, previous studies of older patients with asthma suggested that allergic sensitization was significantly lower.

This study from Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York included data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2005-2006 to compare IgE-mediated sensitization rates between younger (20-40 years) and older (over 55 years) patients with current asthma. Atopy was defined as a serum IgE to at least 1 allergen in a panel of 19 allergens.

Allergic sensitization rates did not differ significantly between the age groups; 75.4% of the younger and 65.2% of the older asthmatic patients were sensitized to at least 1 allergen.

Allergic sensitization in older patients with asthma may be more common than previously reported.

How the allergens change during the season: mnemonic TGR MI DC/DC ("a Tiger with an MI went to DC")

"There's spring time, where you have the tree pollen. Summer time, where you have the grass pollens. And then there's the fall time when you have the weed pollen.”

This sequence is remembered by the mnemonic TGR MI DC/DC ("a Tiger with an MI went to DC").

Pollen calendar: TGR MI DC/DC

Tree pollens
Grass pollens
Ragweed and weed pollen

Mold spores
Indoor allergens - DC/DC - Dog/Cat and Dust mite/Cockroach


Pollen-producing plants (weeds and trees) in Omaha, Nebraska

References:

Characteristics of allergic sensitization among asthmatic adults older than 55 years: results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2005-2006. Busse PJ, Cohn RD, Salo PM, Zeldin DC. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2013 Apr;110(4):247-52. doi: 10.1016/j.anai.2013.01.016. Epub 2013 Feb 13.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23535087
Allergy Season Year Round. WTOC-TV Savannah.
Interactive Allergy Map by Greer Labs. Click your state to find region-specific, common airborne allergens there.
‘Botanical sexism’ blamed for making life miserable for allergy sufferers as male trees fill city skies with pollen http://goo.gl/cx5tH

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