By Robert Preidt
The research included almost 500 children from Cincinnati. The youngsters had allergy skin prick tests for four common indoor allergens -- cat, dog, cockroach and dust mite. The tests were done at ages 1, 2, 3 and 4 years. The children were tested for asthma at age 7.
Children with year-to-year positive tests for cat and dust mite allergies had an increased risk of having asthma by age 7, according to the study. The researchers didn't find a link between other tested allergens and the development of asthma, however.
Although the current research found an association between cat and dust mite allergies and asthma risk, it wasn't designed to show whether these allergens could cause asthma.
The study was to be presented Monday at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) annual meeting in Houston.
"More research is needed, but it appears year-to-year skin prick tests may distinguish between allergic children and identify who is at the highest risk for developing asthma," first author Dr. Jessica Tan said in an AAAAI news release.
"We believe that the patterns of skin testing positive over three years can predict who is more likely to develop asthma by age 7 for children who have family history of allergic diseases," she added.
General risk factors for developing asthma include a parental history of asthma, wheezing induced by viral illness, and the skin condition eczema, according to Tan. She suggested that based on the findings, allergies to cats and dust mites may also be risk factors for developing asthma.