The Prevalence of Allergic Diseases among Children with Asthma: What is the Impact on Asthma Control in South East Nigeria?
Background: Allergic diseases are known to occur in children with asthma and its coexistence with asthma may impact on asthma control in affected children living in a low‑income country. The study is to determine the allergic profile of children with asthma and the association with asthma control and attendant social risk factors. Materials and Methods: This was a cross‑sectional study of consecutively enrolled children with physician diagnosed asthma, attending clinics in a tertiary center in Nigeria. The presence of asthma, allergy types, and asthma control levels were determined using the Gobal initiative on asthma (GINA), international study of asthma and allergy in childhood and asthma control test questionnaires, respectively. Results: There were 207 children with asthma enrolled from the Pediatric Asthma Clinic at University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu. The median age was 10 years and interquartile range of 7–11 years. There were 127 (61.4%) from middle and high socioeconomic class and 86.5% who lived in the urban areas. Of the study participants, 41.5% had one or more allergy symptoms; rhinitis (33.3%), conjunctivitis (29.0%), and dermatitis (7.2%). Allergy symptoms persisted from infancy in 55.9%. Children from large families had a lower prevalence of allergies. Having any allergy symptom and belonging to a small‑sized family were both associated with asthma exacerbations. Most children studied, (69.1%) had their asthma under control. Allergy persistence from infancy and type of allergy were not significantly associated with the level of asthma control. Conclusion: Allergic diseases are common in children with asthma in our environment, but did not significantly impact on asthma control. Socioeconomic factors such as urbanization and family size had effects on the achievement of asthma control but not on allergy status.
Keywords: Allergy, asthma, children, control, severity