Background The increasing prevalence of allergies and asthma has been reported. However, the progression of the prevalence of allergy (the "allergic diathesis progression") has not been examined over time from skin test positivity to oculonasal symptoms to the development of asthma. Objective To investigate the change in the prevalences and associations of positive skin test reactions, oculonasal symptoms, and asthma during the Second and Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES II and NHANES III, respectively). Methods Data collected during NHANES II and III were used. The prevalence and associations of positive skin test reactions, oculonasal symptoms, and asthma and the linear trend of oculonasal symptoms and asthma prevalence across different cumulative positive skin test reactions were calculated for each NHANES period. Results From NHANES II to NHANES III, the prevalence of asthma doubled (2 times) and increased for positive skin test reactions (2.2 times), oculonasal symptoms (3.3 times), and concurrence of asthma, oculonasal symptoms, and positive skin test reactions (5.3 times). People were sensitive to an increasing number of allergens. Positive skin test reactions increased from 0.2% (NHANES II) to 2.7% (NHANES III) for people allergic to all 6 allergens. Conclusion Despite some methodologic differences in skin tests across NHANES II and III, this study demonstrated significant increases in allergen sensitivities (prevalence and number of allergens), oculonasal symptoms, and asthma over a 20-year course, indicating that increased sensitivity led to increased allergic symptoms and asthma during the 20 years from NHANES II to NHANES III.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Immunology and Allergy