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Allergic rhinitis in children : diagnosis and treatment

Korean Journal of Pediatrics 2006;49(6):593-601.
Published online June 15, 2006.
Allergic rhinitis in children : diagnosis and treatment
Yeong-Ho Rha
Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, Kyunghee University, Seoul, Korea
소아 알레르기 비염의 진단과 치료
경희대학교 의과대학 소아과학교실
Yeong-Ho Rha, Email: yhrha@khu.ac.kr
Allergic rhinitis is a common disease of childhood characterized by nasal, throat, and ocular itching, rhinorrhea, sneezing, nasal congestion. Those affected with allergic rhinitis often suffer from associated inflammatory conditions of the mucosa, such as allergic conjunctivitis, rhinosinusitis, asthma, otitis media with effusion, and other atopic conditions, such as eczema and food allergies. Allergic rhinitis must be diagnosed and treated properly to prevent complications and impaired quality of life. Despite a high prevalence, allergic rhinitis isoften undiagnosed and inadequately treated, especially in the pediatric population. The first step in treatment is environmental control when appropriate. It may be difficult to eliminate all offending allergens effectively to reduce symptoms, so medications are often required. Many different classes of medications are now available, and they have been shown to be effective and safe in a large number of well-designed, clinical trials. Antihistamines are effective in treating immediate symptoms of sneezing, pruritus, watery eyes, and rhinorrhea. Second generation antihistamines are the preferred antihistamines because of their superior side effect profile. Thus, decongestants are commonly used with oral antihistamines. Intranasal corticosteroids are the most effective therapy for allergic rhinitis. Leukotriene modifier may be as effective as antihistamines in treating allergic rhinitis symptoms. Cromolyn sodium is an option for mild disease when used prophylactically, and ipratropium bromide is effective when rhinorrhea is the predominant symptom. When avoidance measures and medications are not effective, specific immunotherapy is an effective alternative. Only immunotherapy results in sustained changes in the immune system. Because of improved understanding of the pathogenesis, new and better therapies may be forthcoming. The effective treatment of allergic rhinitis in children will reduce symptoms and will improve overall health and quality of life, making a happier, healthier child.
Key Words: Allergic rhinitis , Diagnosis , Treatment , Children

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