Eczema and family history linked to severe hospitalization for children with asthma

Asthma and allergies are related, and many people who suffer from asthma have allergies that trigger their asthma. Research being presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology's (ACAAI) Annual Scientific Meeting examines the relationship between medical history and allergic reactions in children, and how long they stayed in the hospital after an asthma attack.

Children in the study had been tested for allergies to dust, grass, mold, ragweed, dog, cat, cockroach and other common allergens. "There was no significant association between the number of things a child might be allergic to and the level of treatment received for their asthma in the hospital," says Mona Liu, MD, lead author of the study. "However, we found a family history of asthma and the patient's own history of eczema were significantly associated with a more severe hospital experience."

The more severe hospital experience included admission to the intensive care unit, longer length of stay, increased oxygen and more hours of continuous use of albuterol, an asthma rescue medication.

Dr. Liuand her colleagues studied 39 children between ages 1 and 17 admitted to a hospital for asthma."Out of the patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU), 62 percent had family history of asthma. Only 14 percent of patients who were admitted to the hospital but not to the ICU had a similar family history. In addition, if the child had eczema, that was associated with longer hospital stay and continuous albuterol."

The association with eczema is of interest since previous studies have suggested eczema may contribute to the inflammation of asthma," says allergist Peck Y. Ong, MD, ACAAI member and study co-author. "We are working on a larger sample size to confirm our findings. These findings may help us identify children who are more likely to have a more severe hospitalization for asthma."​

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