From: Reuters
Published March 17, 2008 02:02 AM

Pediatric allergies take toll on kids too

By Julie Steenhuysen

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Allergies can not only make children out of sorts during the day, but can interfere with their sleep, too, researchers reported in a study to be released on Monday.

The survey of hundreds of parents and doctors found spring was by far the worst allergy season, according to three-fourths of respondents.

Sponsored by Sepracor Inc, U.S. marketing partner of Denmark-based Nycomed Co, the survey found some children's allergy symptoms are severe enough to interfere with sleep and daily activities.

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Twenty-nine percent of parents whose children had allergies said their children suffer from a lack of sleep, compared with 12 percent of parents whose children did not have allergies.

"We have known anecdotally that children are affected by allergy symptoms similarly to adults, but Pediatric Allergies in America offers the first data quantifying the scope of how allergies interrupt a child's productivity, sleep cycle and daily functioning," said Dr. Jay Portnoy, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

Forty percent of parents said their children's nasal allergies interfere with school performance, compared to 10 percent of parents whose children did not have allergies.

Nearly half of the children in the study take prescription medication for allergy symptoms, but about 57 percent of parents said they have changed their medication, most often because it was not effective enough, according to the report.

The telephone survey included 500 adults with at least one child with nasal allergies and about the same number whose children did not. It also included a survey of about 500 doctors who treat children with nasal allergies.

Allergies are the most frequently reported chronic condition in children, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

(Editing by Maggie Fox and Doina Chiacu)

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