Wheezing Leads to Asthma in Young Children

March 20, 2008

Rhinoviral wheezing infections in young children usually lead to asthma by age 6, according to findings presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.

Rhinoviral wheezing infections in young children usually lead to asthma by age 6, according to findings presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.

A University of Wisconsin study tracked 259 children during the first six years of life. It found that 30 had rhinoviral wheezing by age 3, with 26 of them later developing asthma. Overall, 73 children (28%) were diagnosed with asthma.

Additional results showed that children with wheezing rhinoviral illnesses at age 1 had a significantly increased risk for asthma at age 6, that March, April, September, and October are the primary months for rhinoviral infections, and that respiratory syncytial virus-related wheezing at age 3 also is a significant predictor of asthma development.

Other significant asthma predictors included the presence of a pet dog at the child's birth, older siblings with asthma, and sensitivity to airborne or food allergens before age 1.

While no treatment exists to prevent rhinoviral infection or asthma, the study's coauthors emphasized the importance of parents and clinicians recognizing children at increased risk for asthma.