Rhinitis in children is more than infections

Published Online: November 7, 2011

Rhinitis (i.e., a stuffy nose) that is not caused by infections seems to be common among children. Studies have shown that allergic rhinitis can affect children´s quality of life, sleep, and school performance. Despite this, there are very few studies on the natural course and co-morbid diseases of allergic and non-allergic rhinitis in children.

In an article in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI), Westman et al describe the natural course of allergic and non-allergic rhinitis between 4 and 8 years of age, and associations to other allergic diseases. They used data from a large unselected, population based birth cohort from Stockholm, Sweden. For 2,024 children from this cohort, questionnaire data regarding allergic diseases, and Immunoglobulin E (IgE) against 8 common airborne allergens were available at both 4 and 8 years of age. The children were assigned to groups of allergic rhinitis (rhinitis with sensitization to allergens), non-allergic rhinitis (rhinitis without sensitization), allergic sensitization without rhinitis and neither rhinitis nor sensitization.

They found that preschool-age children with allergic and non-allergic rhinitis have different prognoses until 8 years of age. Children with early allergic rhinitis seem to have a persistent disease, whereas most preschool children with non-allergic rhinitis have transient symptoms. Both allergic and non-allergic rhinitis is associated with asthma, eczema and food-hypersensitivity. Oral allergy syndrome (which means itching in the mouth when eating certain raw fruits and vegetables) is common among school-aged children with allergic rhinitis. This suggests that non-infectious rhinitis is common among the pediatric population and that the children should be examined thoroughly in order to optimize treatment.


The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI) is the official scientific journal of the AAAAI, and is the most-cited journal in the field of allergy and clinical immunology.

AAAAI - American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology