Link between asthma and allergies in children

The number of children suffering from allergies is on the rise, which may also extend their asthma symptoms.

Unfortunately, it's not uncommon for children to require asthma management for their symptoms. Furthermore, kids who also suffer from allergies are likely to remain asthmatic for a longer period of time. However, a new study has found that most kids will eventually grow out of the condition.

New findings
A recent investigation conducted by a group of Swedish professionals found that respiratory conditions are often further aggravated by pet allergies specifically. More than 200 children who had previously been diagnosed with asthma participated in the research. Remission rates increased as the children entered adulthood, and boys were more likely to have fewer symptoms that girls.

By the age of 19, the participants experienced a remission rate of 21 percent. Children who had cat and dog allergies were lucky with an 18 percent chance for remission. Of the children who were involved in this research, 26 percent of the boys experienced remission while only 14 percent of the girls did. Although it's not uncommon for kids who have needed asthma management to stop experiencing shortness of breath and other symptoms, most doctors will refrain from saying that they have "outgrown" the chronic airway disease.

This is where remission comes into play, as these patients are capable of having an asthma attack in the event there are enough triggers present at a given time. Rates for remission range greatly from 16 to 60 percent, so it's difficult for doctors to know what the outcome will be in any given diagnosis.

"Parents always want to know how long their children will have asthma," Dr. Jennifer Appleyard, who works at St. John Hospital and Medical Center, explained in a statement. " This study can give parents some hope, but there's no guarantee for any child. Really, the glass is half full. There's a good chance you'll outgrow it, but there's also a good chance you won't, especially if you have allergies too."

This fact brings more concerns to recent studies revolving around the rise of allergies among American children.

Children and allergies
The Centers for Disease Control found out earlier this year that allergies in children caused by both certain foods and environmental factors have been increasing over the last several years in the United States. According to NBC News, some have referred to this as an "epidemic" rise.

"Allergic disease is an epidemic and it may not have plateaued yet," Dr. Sakina Bajowala, an allergist from Chicago, told the source. "Every day we get new calls from patients. We see a lot more kids, not with just one allergy, but several."

The evidence of this is in the numbers, as food allergies found in children who are under the age of 18 increased from 3.4 percent in 1997 to 5.1 percent in 2011. Skin allergies, which can be caused by a number of irritants including pets, went from 7.4 percent to 12.5 percent during this same timeframe. Interestingly, the CDC also found that children who came from wealthier families were more likely to suffer from some type of allergy.

Researchers looked at information from 9,000 to 12,000 individuals who represented a cross section of the U.S. population. It is important to note that the presence of allergies was the only thing looked at, and what was causing those symptoms was not in question. In order to combat the rise in allergies, doctors will need to find the root of the cause.

"Allergies are not a joke, it is very frightening for families impacted by it – they do not want it to control their lives, but it does," Dr. Bajowala said.

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