Childhood allergic diseases are a major concern because they lead to a heavy economic burden and poor quality of life. The purpose of this study was to investigate the prevalence of childhood atopic dermatitis, asthma, allergic rhinitis, and the comorbidity of allergic diseases in Seoul, Korea.
We conducted a cross-sectional survey between May and October 2010 to evaluate the prevalence of childhood allergic diseases, including atopic dermatitis, asthma, and allergic rhinitis, using a questionnaire from the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood group. Each questionnaire was completed by the parent or guardian of a child.
In the 31,201 children studied, the prevalence of atopic dermatitis symptoms in the past 12 months was 19.3% in children 0 to 3 years of age, 19.7% in children 4 to 6 years of age, 16.7% in children 7 to 9 years of age, and 14.5% in children 10 to 13 years of age (p for trend < 0.001). The prevalence of asthma in these age groups was 16.5%, 9.8%, 6.5%, and 5.4%, respectively (p for trend < 0.001). The prevalence of allergic rhinitis in these age groups was 28.5%, 38.0%, 38.5%, and 35.9%, respectively (p for trend = 0.043). The percentage of subjects with both atopic dermatitis and asthma, both asthma and allergic rhinitis, or both atopic dermatitis and allergic rhinitis was 2.5%, 4.7%, and 8.7%, respectively. The prevalence of comorbid allergic diseases decreased with age (p for trend < 0.001).
Our study revealed that the prevalence of some allergic diseases, such as atopic dermatitis and asthma, was relatively high in very young children and that all of the principal allergic diseases in children often co-exist.