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Kye Hee Lee 1 Article
An Epidemiologic Study on Allergies in the Community
Kye Hee Lee
J Korean Acad Community Health Nurs. 2000;11(1):262-277.   Published online June 30, 2000
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In order to find out the sex- and age-related prevalence rate of allergic diseases in the community. as well as the causes of those diseases. questionnaires were given to 2.415 subjects (1.206 males and 1.209 females) from May to June. 1998. As a second stage. skin tests were given to 452 of the original subjects between July and August. 1998. Finally. from March to November 1999. the results of the tests were compared with those of other countries to make a comparative analysis of epidemiological research on allergic diseases. The results of this study were as follows: The frequency of allergic symptoms by sex was 50.1% in males and 56.7% in females. respectively, which displayed significant difference between males and females(p<.01). By age, the frequency of allergic symptoms in males was highest for those under the age of 9 at 60.6%, whereas in females the highest frequency was between the ages of 30 to 39 at 75.1 %. The relationship between economic level of the subjects and their frequency of allergic diseases showed significant difference (P<.05). There was a high degree of correlation between family history and the frequency of allergic diseases(P<.01). In allergic symptoms, the highest prevalence in both males and females occurred with urticaria, itch and skin rash (33.6% with males and 38.0% with females). Rhinitis, nasal blocking and sneezing had the second highest frequency in both sexes (11.8% of males and 14.0% of females). With regard to the causes of allergic symptoms among the people with allergies, the rate in males was 30.1% in food. 25.0% in pollen, and among females the rate was 30.7% in food, 26.6% in pollen. The frequency of food allergies by sex was 25.6% in males and 25.8% in females, with little difference between males and females, and by age, males of the ages between 40 to 49 and females of the ages between 30 and 39 showed the highest frequency, 31.8% and 32.6% respectively. Among 585 people with food allergies, the sympoms occurring with the allergy in males were 81.5% with urticaria, itch and skin rash. 5.9% with diarrhea and stomachache, and 5.2% with rhinitis, nasal blocking and sneezing. Among females with food allergies, the symptoms were 82.6% with urticaria, itch, skin rash, 9.1% with diarrhea and stomachache, and 4.7% with rhinitis, nasal blocking and sneezing. The type of food most often causing allergy in males was mackerel (6.6%) and females peaches (7.4%). In respect to a positive rate in the skin test by sex, of the 379 males taking the skin test, 21.4% were positive for allergies, whereas 14.7% of the 346 females tested were positive. Among food items found to cause positive allergic reactions, hops had the highest frequency in males (58.9%) and whole eggs had the greatest effect on females (36.4%). The estimated prevalence of food allergies in terms of skin tests was 5.0% of 1.206 males and 3.6% of 1.209 females. In the estimated frequency of food allergy by age group, males of the ages between 40 and 49 and females of the ages from 30 to 39 had the highest rate (6.5% with males and 4.5% with females). In a comparative analysis of epidemiological research on allergic diseases by country group, allergic diseases occurred in 18-50% of each population studied, and the occurrence of allergic diseases when categorized according to symptoms displayed the following as such: allergic rhinitis (3.8-52%), allergic asthma (1.6-17%), and atopy dermatitis (0.33-20.4%). The prevalence of food-related allergies was 6.6-64.9% and the foods causing allergies frequently included milk, eggs, eggs, peanuts, fish, etc.

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