Background: Among Hispanics, the largest minority ethnic group in the United States, asthma prevalence is increasing, particularly in inner-city neighborhoods. Although allergen sensitization among asthmatic African Americans has been extensively studied, similar details are not available for Hispanic children. Objectives: To examine patterns of allergen sensitization, including the association with illness severity, in asthmatic children overall and in Hispanic and African American children living in a socioeconomically disadvantaged area of New York City. Methods: A retrospective medical record review of asthmatic children attending a community hospital in the South Bronx area of New York City was performed. Information abstracted included demographics, asthma severity classification, reported exposures to indoor allergens, and results of allergy testing. Results: Among 384 children in the analysis, 270 (70.3%) were Hispanic and 114 (29.7%) were African American. Sensitization to indoor and outdoor allergens, respectively, did not differ between Hispanic (58.5% and 27.0%) and African American (58.8% and 32.6%) children. Allergen sensitization exhibited a direct, significant association with asthma severity for indoor allergens for the 2 ethnic groups combined and for Hispanics separately but not between asthma severity and outdoor allergens (P < .01). No correlation was found between self-reported allergen exposure and sensitization. Conclusions: Patterns of allergen sensitization among inner-city Hispanic asthmatic children resemble those among African American children, a finding that is likely explained by the similarity in levels of environmental exposures. With the increasing prevalence of asthma among inner-city Hispanic children, skin testing should be used frequently for objective evaluation of asthma in this ethnic group.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine