Allergies Curb Kids' Daily Activities
Sleep, Schoolwork Suffer When Children Have Severe Nasal Allergy Symptoms
Nov. 12, 2007 -- Nasal allergy symptoms in children may severely affect
daily activities such as sleep and schoolwork, according to two new
The impact of nasal allergy symptoms is well documented in adults but not in
children. This is the largest U.S. study to examine severity of allergic
rhinitis (nasal allergy) symptoms and the impact on quality of life in
The studies analyzed a national telephone survey of 35,757 parents. The
parents were asked about the effect of allergy symptoms on their children's
daily activities, productivity, and sleep patterns.
Five hundred children between ages 4 and 17 with nasal allergy symptoms were
compared with 504 children who do not have nasal allergies.
Nasal Allergies Disrupt Sleep
The first study, headed by Jennifer M. Derebery, MD, of the House Ear
Institute in Los Angeles, showed that the rate of sleep problems in children
with nasal allergies is 2 1/2 times that of children without allergies. Parents
reported allergy symptoms caused their children to have difficulty falling
asleep (32%), staying asleep (26%) or getting a good night’s (29%).
The parents rated their children’s productivity at 97% on symptom-free days,
compared with 68% on days when allergies are the worst.
The percentage of children with allergies that have difficulty with daily
activities or accomplish less than expected was more than double that of
children without allergies, note the researchers.
Nasal Allergy Symptoms Affect Daily Activities
The second study, presented by Michael S. Blaiss, MD, clinical professor of
pediatrics and medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in
Memphis, looked at how severe symptoms affect children’s daily activities.
Symptoms reported as moderate to severe included nasal congestion (75%);
postnasal drip (70%); runny nose (65%); headache (59%); and red, itchy eyes
Similar to adults, the most bothersome symptoms affecting daily life,
however, were nasal congestion and headache. Twenty-seven percent of parents
reported nasal congestion as the most bothersome symptom in their children, and
13% reported headache.
Parents reported a 29% decrease in their children's productivity on days
when nasal allergy symptoms were their worst, Blaiss reports.
Nasal Allergy Complaints Common
George McCrary, MD, a general practitioner from Fayetteville, Ark., says the
loss in productivity is not surprising: "If you can’t breathe, you’re not
going to be very productive."
He says complaints of coughing and trouble sleeping due to postnasal drip
are common among both adults and children.
"I see kids every day where the teacher has told the parent to get the
child treated because of coughing in school," McCrary says.
The studies were presented at The American College of Allergy, Asthma &
Immunology Annual Scientific Meeting in Dallas.