Allergy prevalence and causal factors in the domestic environment: results of a random population survey in the United Kingdom.


BACKGROUND Surveys of the prevalence of allergic diseases associated with domestic allergens (eg, asthma, rhinitis, hay fever, eczema, and dermatitis) are usually undertaken in restricted geographic areas. They are often based on specific demographic subgroups (eg, children) or are derived from treatment data (eg, GP consultations). Causal factors are seldom quantified in these reports. OBJECTIVE This study was designed to quantify the prevalence of allergic disease among a representative cross-section of population in the United Kingdom. It was also designed to quantify the reported causal factors in terms of domestic allergen and irritant sources and activities leading to exposure. METHODS Two thousand respondents were selected from across the UK. These respondents were interviewed using a short series of questions that formed part of a larger, more general omnibus questionnaire. The questions required respondents to report on diagnosed allergic disease and causal factors within their household, giving a total sample base of 5,609 people. RESULTS Asthma and hay fever account for the majority of reported cases of allergic disease in the UK (12% and 10% of total household, respectively). Pollen, house dust mite excreta (HDM allergen), and pet dander are the three most common allergic triggers (42%, 27%, and 17% respectively). Dusting and being near pets each account for about 20% of the reported domestic activities triggering an allergic response. CONCLUSION The feedback from the general population indicates asthma and hay fever to be the predominant allergic conditions, with dust and pet dander the most common sources of allergen/irritant. Key tasks such as changing bed linen and vacuuming were not perceived as being as important as dusting in terms of activities leading to reaction.


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@article{Brown1999AllergyPA, title={Allergy prevalence and causal factors in the domestic environment: results of a random population survey in the United Kingdom.}, author={Callie Welch Brown and Lindsay Hawkins}, journal={Annals of allergy, asthma & immunology : official publication of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology}, year={1999}, volume={83 3}, pages={240-4} }