Of 656 asthmatic patients referred specifically for allergy assessments, 544 (84 percent) gave positive immediate skin prick tests to at least one of 22 common allergens used routinely. Comparison of these skin test positive patients with the 102 (16 percent) who were skin test negative showed a number of significant differences. The majority of the skin test positive patients (52 percent) were less than 10 years old at the time of onset of the asthma, whereas, of the skin test negative patients, 56 percent were aged over 30 years at the time of onset. Seventy per cent report rhinitis compared with 48 per cent of the skin test negative patients, and 29 per cent reported infantile eczema compared with 9 per cent. Symptoms attributed to house dust, pollens, and animals were noted two to three times more frequently by the skin test positive patients, while corticosteroid drugs had been used more commonly by the skin test negative patients (45 percent compared with 35 percent). No significant differences were observed with the other factors studied, namely, history of urticaria or angio-oedema, family history of "allergic" disease, and awareness of sensitivity to foods, aspirin or penicillin. Prick test reactions in the skin test positive patients were most commonly seen to house dust or the acarine mite, Dermatophagoides farinae (82 percent), followed by pollens (66 percent), animal danders (38 percent), foods (16 percent), Aspergillus fumigatus (16 percent), and other moulds (21 percent). There was a highly significant association of positive history with positive prick test for all allergens studied.
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